iCloud Data Loss

What happens when you get locked out of your icloud account?

Mar 14, 2024 | Managed Service Providers

I was on a phone call yesterday with someone who had her iCloud account hacked over the weekend and her cell phone number stolen. We are not sure exactly how the hackers were able to gain access to her iCloud account from the initial phone call.

When the hackers got into her iCloud account they changed the trusted phone number on the iCloud account and set up a recovery key. By doing these two things she is completely locked out of her iCloud account. Apple will not assist her in getting access back even by showing her photo ID or any other method. Without the recovery key that only the hackers have, she is completely locked out of iCloud. This means she has lost access to every photo/video she ever took on her iPhone.

Because the hackers had access to her text messages they went on and reset many of her online accounts, transferring funds, and opening new accounts under her name.

The money is in the process of being recovered, her credit is frozen, and she got her cell phone number back but is still locked out of iCloud. This is the most devasting piece of the hack, she had no backups of the photos like most people who rely on Apple & Google.

After hearing how devasted this person was I wanted to make a post to remind everyone to take the time to back up the photos you have stored on Apple & Google. Don’t put all of your trust in these companies to keep your lifetime of photos safe. Apple has an easy way to get a copy of all iCloud photos.

Here is the process

Go to https://privacy.apple.com/

Click “Get a copy of your data”

Choose the data you would like to get a copy of and press complete request.

When your data is ready you will receive an email with the download links.

Make sure you save your photos to multiple locations including USB drives, and other cloud services.

The second piece to this is to make sure you have an “Apple Recovery Key”. If you get locked out of your Apple account this might be the only method you have to get back in. Unfortunately, hackers still might be able to change this code and lock you out if they gain access, but it is better than not having it.

To set your recovery key on your iPhone go to

Settings–>AppleID–>Sign-in & Security–>Account Recovery

DO NOT LOSE THIS KEY! Keep it in a MULTIPLE safe places that no one can easily get access to. You can also set recovery contacts of people you trust.

After looking into this it seems many people have had similar issues and lost access to their iCloud account and the photos that go with it. Here is an interesting video the Wall Street Journal put out early last year.

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