For consumers, the cloud is a big blessing: It lets them store huge amounts of information—music, messages, photos and so on—at little or no cost. Thanks to a wide array of services, it’s possible to squirrel away as much digital data as you like without buying extra equipment like hard drives or memory sticks.
The cloud, in this sense, is like a big free storage locker — but one that poses a special security danger. Unlike a physical file cabinet, data stored in the cloud can be at risk of being stolen by cyber-criminals around the world. And if the crooks do strike, they are likely to get hold of an enormous amount of information.
The most common way crooks get into cloud services is by getting a consumer’s password and letting themselves into the account. They can do this by hacking a cloud company’s database, tricking a consumer into revealing it (often using an email that purports to be from the company) or simply guessing it—many consumers today still use easy-to-guess passwords like “123456” or “password.” Meanwhile, consumers may re-use passwords, which can lead to a series of additional digital break-ins.