LTP 108: Cybersecurity for Photographers

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In this solo show Bart shares his cybersecurity advice for photographers.

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As photographers we need to think about security in a few different contexts.

Follow the Money

Before we get down into the weeds, it’s very important to always know where you stand with a company/service, and that means understanding their business model.

  • Truly Free — some kind of self-sustaining charitable foundation 😀
  • Free for now — a startup looking to build up a user base so they can sell to a big corporation, users pretty much always suffer when that sale happens 🙁
  • “Freepi” (free but creepy) — based on selling user attention/data 😠
  • Freemium — a sustainable business model based on basic free services with revenue coming from paid upgrades of some kind 🙂
  • Paid — you’re the customer, you matter the most!
Social Media

Sharing is a big part of a lot of the enjoyment many of us get from photography. Most if not all of us are using ‘freepi’ social media accounts, so, the companies don’t care about us, we have to protect ourselves!

  • Strong unique password everywhere
    • You need a password manager!
  • Enable 2FA/MFA
    • Avoid SMS if possible (better than no 2FA, but least-good of all the options)
  • Make sure password recovery options are configured
    • If forced to set security questions, Lie! Either lie consistently, or save your lies in your password manager.
Backup, Backup, Backup!

Our photos are our pride and joy — we need to protect them!

“Data doesn’t really exist unless you have at least two copies of it.”
― Schofield’s 2nd law (Jack Schofield, 2008)

So many of us use cloud services for our photos now that you might think you’re covered because the sync will take care of it, but it doesn’t work like that — think of a synced cloud service as just one copy, because if a photo gets deleted in on place, that deletion will sync to all!

Notice that Schofield said at least two copies of your data should exist, I’d argue strongly you need more!

The 3–2–1 Backup Rule
  • 3 copies (the original and 2 backups)
  • 2 media (2 copies on the one hard drive is no good!)
  • 1 off-site (or in the cloud)
Don’t Accidentally Give Away Your Rights

The rights to your photos have real value, there are those who want to trick you into giving them up in exchange for bugger all!

Terms of service matter, the rules in competitions matter, think before you share! Sadly small print that gives the organisers of photo competitions huge rights of all submitted images are really common.

If you want to be able to sell exclusive rights to your images, you really can’t post them to social media or enter them into competitions 🙁 (My approach is to offer perpetual licenses to customers, but never exclusive perpetual licenses.)

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