Actor Chris Evans made headlines over the weekend for accidentally posting an Instagram story that ended on a surprise note. Evans just wanted to share a video of himself playing Heads Up! with mates, before his camera roll somehow revealed a nude photo to his five million followers.
The award-winning actor quickly deleted the story, but it was too late. The image had been released to the world and his privacy forever compromised. It can be hard to care that Captain America made a social media blunder, but let's face it... you'd be horrified if the same thing happened to you.
So here at MTV Australia, we wanted to help. Here are five tips to help you avoid doing a Chris Evans in the future...
1. Bin Creepy Data
Did you know that every time you use your phone to take a photo, something called EXIF data is embedded into the file? Data that includes your precise location? Yup, neither did we.
EXIF data includes where and what time you took the photo, as well as other bits of metadata. Not great if you’re texting someone you don’t know that well or uploading photos to a public website.
2. Use A Secure Messaging App
To avoid a Chris Evans situation, it’s best to keep private photos out of your photo gallery altogether; opting for an encrypted messaging service instead. "If you want to write, send pictures, videos, or voice messages to your partner, I recommend WhatsApp," Gabe Turner, Chief Editor at Security.org told Business Insider last year.
Encryption is a way of encoding information that makes third-party snooping impossible, which Evans probably would’ve appreciated. The app also doesn’t store your messages on their servers.
One roadblock is that WhatsApp stores any photos or videos you take in your device’s photo gallery by default, so make sure you switch that feature off.
3. Shut Your Face
Experts reckon that when it comes to nudes, it’s a good idea to leave out your face and other identifying features like birthmarks and tattoos.
In the unfortunate case your information is hacked, lost or stolen, taking this step will help protect your identity (while helping you feel safer in general).
4. Avoid Dark Clouds
While services like iCloud are super convenient, it’s best to make sure they’re turned off in the case of photos you don’t want anyone seeing. Backing up photos or videos in your regular cloud makes them vulnerable to cyberattacks (which is how a slew of celebrities sadly had their private photos hacked in the past).
Here's a good explainer taking you through how to switch off iCloud and keep hackers at bay.
5. Lock Up
While encrypted messaging apps and turning off iCloud are excellent steps, they won’t stop someone having your way with your phone while your back is turned.
That’s where setting up two-factor authentication (2FA) comes in – which is basically about having two checks in place to confirm your identity. MyGov, for example, uses 2FA when you're asked to log on using both a password and a code sent to your phone. That way, only YOU can be witness to the horror that is your HECS debt. Oh god.
Some good tips for locking down your phone – for both iPhone loyalists and Android stans – can be found here.
6. Risk Assess
Here's the annoying bit. Even if you take every possible precaution, taking photos you don't want others to see will always come with some degree of risk. Even a partner who you think is trustworthy to begin with may engage in image-based abuse; leaking your photos down the line.
In the end, it's 100% your call. And in any case, you can probably do better than Chris Evans. Ooof, poor guy.
Main Photo Credit: Licensed By Getty
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