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This article was published on August 24, 2010

How To Keep Your iTunes Account Safe And Secure

How To Keep Your iTunes Account Safe And Secure
Alex Wilhelm
Story by

Alex Wilhelm

Alex Wilhelm is a San Francisco-based writer. You can find Alex on Twitter, and on Facebook. You can reach Alex via email at [email protected] Alex Wilhelm is a San Francisco-based writer. You can find Alex on Twitter, and on Facebook. You can reach Alex via email at [email protected]

If you use iTunes, and who doesn’t have it installed, you must be somewhat wary of the endless news bouncing around the technology world of people having their accounts hacked, and then drained of hundreds of dollars.

That would be a rough morning, to wake up and realize that someone via your account had picked up the entire Justin Bieber discography 13 times over while you slept. Talk about a waste. Let’s break down just what is going on with iTunes, and how you can keep yourself and your kids safe.

It’s Not iTunes’ Fault

Why are so many people’s accounts being compromised? Has Apple been beaten by a crowd of malicious hackers from around the world? The answer is no, the iTunes accounts that are being bested and abused are accounts where the hackers managed to gain the account’s credentials from the user through one means or the next.

In other words, the bad guys are getting the good guys to cough up their account information, which they then used to log in and go hog wild. It’s called phishing, and if you don’t know about it, go read this right now.

Seeing as the problem is on the side of the users, we have prepared a few tips for you to follow to help yourself stay safe. If you use your common sense, and take our suggestions seriously, you should be more than fine.

Great Deals Can Be Scams

Want to buy your daughter a $100 iTunes gift card, and found a website that is selling them for a mere $75? Don’t bet on it being safe. Accounts that are compromised are often used to purchase iTunes gift cards, which are then hocked at a discount to suckers on the free market. It’s how the hackers turn iTunes money into real money.

So what is the risk? You are giving hackers your payment information, and probably (for the unsuspecting deal hunter) your iTunes account information. It’s the perfect scam: lure in gullible people with stolen goods sold at a discount, you make a killing, and while you are selling them a cheap product you steal their information so you can do it all over again.

Too good to be true is, so pay full price and buy from Apple.

Passwords Are Like Underwear: They Need To Be Changed

If you are an active purchaser of music, apps, books, or anything else on iTunes, go change your password. Do it right now. Change it no less frequently than every three months. Think of it like this, Apple you can trust. Apple is smart, powerful, and secure. Still, the other people on your account are not always just so nice to work with. Change the password, and don’t tell it to other people unless they absolutely need to know it.

If you have kids, type it in for them.

Prepaid Is The Way

If your iTunes account is used by numerous people, say your family, and you want to make sure that nothing bad can happen, go and buy a $100 Visa gift card and use that as the preferred payment option. That way, if your account does get hacked, they can only steal what you have left on that card, nothing more.

Alternatively, buy an iTunes gift card a local retailer, and delete your PayPal or other payment information from your account. The idea is this: limit your risk and maintain function. However you can do that, you should.

Alright folks, that is a our guide. Good luck, and stay safe.