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Apple extending two-factor authentication to iCloud, adding new security alerts

iCloud

In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, Apple CEO Tim Cook confirmed the company was taking additional steps to increase the security of iCloud accounts following the theft of private celebrity photos. These new measures will add new security alerts for account changes, expand the current two-factor authentication system to include iCloud and raise awareness about securing individual accounts.

"When I step back from this terrible scenario that happened and say what more could we have done, I think about the awareness piece," he said. "I think we have a responsibility to ratchet that up. That's not really an engineering thing."

The new notification system will go into effect in the next few weeks and will alert users via email or push notification when an account password change is requested, when iCloud data is restored to a new device and when a device logs into an account for the first time. Each alert will be actionable, allowing the user to notify Apple's security team of a breach or regain control of their account by changing the password.

Tim Cook also confirmed Apple will expand two-factor authentication in its next version of iOS that is slate for release this fall. Besides securing an iTunes account, iOS 8 also will support two-factor authentication for mobile iCloud accounts. This security system requires a person to have two factors to login into an account. A user must have the password to the account and either a unique one-time-use code or an access key provided by the service when the user first opened the account.

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