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Business Critical: iCloud Breach and Textbook Troubles

Flying Hippo

By Flying Hippo

Business Critical is our weekly collection of what’s new, exciting, and insightful for business leaders from the world of the web, marketing, social media, and more.

iCloud Breach

Very rarely does tech news overlap with pop culture news. This week, however, it did — and the impact has shockwaves that touch everyone that uses Apple products.

Whenever you take a picture with your iPhone, your photo is stored locally on your phone as well as on your iCloud, making your data accessible from any device with an Internet connection. Usually, this handy feature prevents having to download photos, music and other documents from your mobile device to a desktop. But it also makes a whopping amount of your data available to anyone with malicious intent. Over the weekend, hackers broke into a smattering of celebrities’ iCloud data and released a trove of racy pictures. (They even released this selfie we took in the shower.)

Apple is certain that any data breach was not their fault, according to a post on their website:

When we learned of the theft, we were outraged and immediately mobilized Apple’s engineers to discover the source…We have discovered that certain celebrity accounts were compromised by a very targeted attack on user names, passwords and security questions, a practice that has become all too common…None of the cases we have investigated has resulted from any breach in any of Apple’s systems including iCloud® or Find my iPhone.

Still, now would be a good time to turn on two-step authentication to throw any potential ne’er-do-wells for a loop.

On that note, Spirit Airlines tried taking advantage of a very precarious situation by offering a “bare fare” in a marketing email. While they intended the email’s copy to be a humorous elbow nudge, it felt more like a heavy-handed slap:

“We feel naked; you were never supposed to see this Bare Fare! It was meant for a special someone (who isn’t you). Now it’s all over the Internet for you to take advantage of as you see fit.”

Accordingly, FastCompany gave Spirit the “worst tweet of the week” award, though many argued the move was bold and opportunistic. Lesson to marketers: avoid making light of scandalous situations, unless you’re ready for the backlash.

Textbook Troubles

As the seasons turn colder, a few things become inevitable: playoff baseball, going back to school and racking up insurmountable amounts of debt in college.


While shoveling out $300 for a textbook required for a college course (that you never even used, ‘natch) was unavoidable a decade ago, textbook publishers are now scrambling to keep up with pirates. An industry shift is underway, and a drastic business model and marketing change is required, according to a recent Wall Street Journal article.

By shifting toward digital books, publishers are hoping to put a cap on piracy: nearly two-thirds of college students have skipped buying a course textbook at least once because it cost too much, and 25 percent of students photocopied or scanned textbooks from other students.

Photos courtesy MattsMacintosh and Plutor via Flickr Creative Commons



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