It all started at a friend’s house. I was filming a Vine there when I was notified that I had been logged out of my iCloud account. I thought that was weird, but since I was in the middle of filming, I assumed I had just entered the wrong password. I ignored the new login requests and decided to update the account from my laptop at home. That was at 10 p.m.
At home, I realized I couldn’t log on to my iCloud account on my laptop either. My password wasn’t working and all my iMessages were turned off.
This is making me feel sick… Someone logged into my iCloud on a 4s. Having it investigated now. ugh… people…— Amanda Cerny (@AmandaCerny) October 22, 2014
I decided to go to bed.
Love you all and for the ones who sent me helpful mentions <3 xxo I’m going to try and go to bed . Sweet dreams!— Amanda Cerny (@AmandaCerny) October 22, 2014
The next morning, I got emails telling me that my password had been reset. I was blocked out of my account, and realized that everything from iCloud—iMessage, Facetime, Mail, and all the rest, all my notes, etc.—had been uploaded to an iPhone 4s with the name Amanda’s iPhone. Then, that phone turned its location services off.
Apple’s security just failed again … All****** of my personal information is now lost… This is so sad…— Amanda Cerny (@AmandaCerny) October 22, 2014
I was so bummed.
ugh.. i feel so violated! WTF APPLE— Amanda Cerny (@AmandaCerny) October 22, 2014
They had all my personal information—contact information, business and banking emails, and even my address. Everything was on there.
Time to change all of my bank info, passwords, and home address.. :(— Amanda Cerny (@AmandaCerny) October 22, 2014
And thanks to iCloud’s keychain feature, the hacker also had access to my Facebook, Twitter, Vine, and Instagram. I have a large social media following, so I made sure to spend time changing each of my individual account passwords from my laptop. Thankfully, no one deleted any of those accounts. Still, at that moment, I felt so violated. I felt weird even being in my own home, knowing that somebody else had access to all of my information and passwords.
I thought this would all get taken care of right away, but this wasn’t the case. Apple was not on top of it. By the time I discovered I had been hacked, Apple customer service was closed for business in the U.S. I called my friend in Europe to connect me with an Apple representative there. This person forwarded me to a member of Apple’s Chinese support staff, who was able to handle with special care because as a Playmate, I’m considered a public figure. This type of hack could happen to anyone, but because of my identity, they knew it was more likely for my personal information to leak and potentially go viral. Apple assured me that my iCloud account would be disabled for 24 hours. Apple was wrong.
And now they are telling me that I can’t log in to my account for 24 hours because it has been disabled!!?!??!?!?!?!??!— Amanda Cerny (@AmandaCerny) October 22, 2014
In fact, I spent the next 24 hours struggling to get my account back. In the mean time, the other “Amanda” was receiving all of my iMessages and emails. It made me feel sick; I teared up. The account had only actually been disabled for eight hours, and the person who stole my information had already woken up, changed the password, and was receiving my notifications. Fortunately, I was able to change it again and could because I still had a non-Apple email. I quickly did so and gained back control over my account.
Even after that, I had the worst feeling ever. Since my life is already so public, having zero private information isn’t a good feeling. I already expose my life publicly, but to have someone come in and take from me made me feel like I had nothing. Like I wasn’t even myself anymore, just everyone else’s person.
When someone has all of your information, it’s like a war over your own identity. I don’t have many secrets (which some people might think relieves all this a bit) but secrets aren’t the issue here. This is about information that isn’t supposed to be shared: I don’t want people having my account numbers, you know?
I do everything on my phone; I live off my phone. Without it, I couldn’t work. I couldn’t function. But technology companies really have to begin warning people about what we’re getting into when we’re using their devices. Just because some services may be convenient, that doesn’t mean they’re always totally secure. Remember in Jackass, when they would show a disclaimer before the videos? Like, Don’t try these things at home because bad things could happen. We need to understand how easy it is for our information to leak and for our identities to be stolen.
We all have busy lives, but we can no longer be too trusting of these platforms until companies make the improvements necessary to make everything secure. And this isn’t just Apple’s responsibility. There are plenty of other ways this could have happened.
At first, I was super upset about all of this. But it’s like, what else can I do (other than get a new passport)?
Downside is that #Apple broke my trust last night and made for a lovely day at the police station…— Amanda Cerny (@AmandaCerny) October 22, 2014
Upside is that I will be uploading a hilarious new vine , doing a reddit AMA, and now have an entire new identity :p Call me Barackisha 💃— Amanda Cerny (@AmandaCerny) October 22, 2014
I believe in karma, good and bad, and that everything happens for reason. We all just have to be more aware. Be sure to know what information you store in your phone. In the back of our heads, we have to always think about somebody else’s eyes seeing what we write or what photos we take. But then again, if your boyfriend is across the country and photo sharing is one of your only ways to communicate with him, it’s understandable to want to share a personal picture. So it’s complicated.
Try to do things that aren’t permanent, or consider putting private pictures on a camera that doesn’t link to the Internet. Just keep in mind that privacy isn’t always a reality. Luckily, it doesn’t really matter if my own nude photos are leaked. It’s not going to hurt me as much as it might someone else.
You never think something like this is going to happen to you. I never thought this would happen to me. I always thought that as long as I made a password with some uppercase letters in it, I’d be good.
Amanda Cerny is Playboy’s Playmate of the Month for October 2011. Interview as told to Tierney Finster