Google Photos is an excellent way to backup and store your favourite – and maybe not so favourite photos. Can your Google Photos be hacked, though? Let’s find out…
Utilizing cloud storage is a smart decision to undertake – in both your business and personal life – to keep your information safe and well organised.
If you’re looking to keep your multimedia collections nicely organised, conveniently available from one location, and reassuringly safe, Google Photos, which has been around since 2015, is a prominent, free cloud storage solution worth investigating.
All applications and internet services would be indestructible in a perfect world, and you wouldn’t have to worry about the security of your data. Hackers, however, infest a high number of online spaces, and you should be aware of them in order to secure your data as much as possible.
Thankfully, Google and its applications and services are getting closer and closer to being unassailable, but unless you take precautions, many of their platforms are still susceptible to these hackers.
Can A Google Photos Account Be Hacked?
While there have been a few issues with hackers accessing Google Photos user information in the past – such as locations, dates and times – Google has been quick to fix these issues. This doesn’t mean your account is now water-tight, though, as weak passwords and other forms of carelessness can still certainly render your account vulnerable.
A couple of years ago, an independent security expert discovered a Google Photos bug that allowed hackers access to your personal information. Hackers were able to exploit a Google Photos defect to access the photos’ location, date, and user information.
Hackers tricked users into visiting a malicious website while signed in to Google Photos, then launched a cross-site search on them to reveal information. This hacking technique exploits the time it takes for a browser to respond to a query to get past the same-origin policy.
Hackers could then use Google Photos to find out what you’re browsing for, including times, dates, and places. Although this method has its limits, skilled hackers supplement it with additional techniques to increase the efficiency of the cross-site search.
How To Secure Your Google Photos Account
Anything Google creates will, without a doubt, be as secure as possible and even if a fault sneaks through the gaps, as previously stated, the flaws are rapidly corrected. Here are a few things you can do to ensure you’re doing everything you can to protect your account from your end, too:
Be Wary Of Connecting Third-Party Apps
Google Photos works flawlessly with a variety of third-party apps, including the likes of Shutterfly. This improves the user experience while also allowing you to use photos straight from the Cloud service. These applications, however, continue to have full access to your Google Photos account.
So, if your Shutterfly account is hacked, those hackers are likely to gain access to Google Photos information as well. This is especially alarming since they may be able to access enough information to get access to all of your accounts.
Avoid Wi-Fi Hotspots Where Possible
Hackers may intercept unprotected cookies from a variety of websites via apps and extensions. The good news is that Google accounts are largely immune to these attacks; nevertheless, there is a variety of other harmful software that take advantage of public hotspots.
The “man-in-the-middle” attack confuses the public access point, allowing one computer to serve as the primary gateway. As a result, the hackers are able to track all of the traffic on that hotspot and everything that is transferred, including any photographs, screenshots or videos you share or upload to your Google Photos account.
It’s recommended to obtain a VPN if you often use public Wi-Fi networks. It allows you to hide your device by spoofing your location and IP address.
Make Sure All Your Passwords Are Unique
It’s the most basic advice we can offer, and we know you probably know this already, but so many people still create weak passwords then reuse them across the board.
Although this is the oldest trick in the book, many people continue to use the same password for their Google and other accounts. To find out the log-in credentials for Cloud-based apps, hackers use social engineering, cunning thinking, and indirect tactics.
The hackers test the information to see whether it works, assuming you’re using the same email address and password combo for other apps. Your Google account, of course, is the first item that gets scrutinised.
Fortunately, anytime you or someone else signs in from a separate device, you will receive an email. It has a unique design and a button for checking log-in activity.
Enable Two-Factor Authentification
Google supports two-factor authentication (2FA), often known as two-step verification, which is simple to set up and accessible in a variety of setups.
Two-factor authentication isn’t nearly as cumbersome as you would believe. It just has to be used once on each device and web browser. After that, your device or browser will be “trusted” as yours, and all you’ll need to sign in is your Google password.
Big organisations don’t always treat your username, password, or phone number with regard, and if you don’t use two-factor authentication on your Google account, a cybercriminal may gain access to your Google password if you’ve used it for another account. This is, of course, if you haven’t already taken our advice from the previous section.
Put simply, 2FA is a whole new level of protection on top of using passwords to secure your accounts, just like using your fingerprint or facial recognition when signing in from your smartphone.
Jake is a professional copywriter, journalist, and life-long fan of technology. He covers news and user guides for KnowYourMobile.