Security is a trending topic at the moment. Stories have been flying around for the last month or so of potential security compromises on some of the world’s best known websites, as well as potential security issues relating to Windows XP and Windows 8.

Then there was the now patched bug in Internet Explorer, that was deemed to be so potentially threatening, that the US Department of Homeland Security felt fit to issue a warning over it. Then came the “reset the net” movement, which called for all websites to be rewritten using better encryption and security protocols in order to prevent the collection of data from governments.

Technology Giants Apple and eBay enter the Security Headlines

Lately, Apple and eBay have both come under scrutiny for compromises to the security of their millions of customers.

All of eBay’s 145 million users have been requested to reset their passwords in order to protect their accounts from hijack. This is because eBay themselves were a victim of a cyber attack, and a database containing users’ email addresses, passwords, physical addresses, phone numbers and dates of birth was compromised.

This is a huge blow for eBay, and puts a huge dent in their reputation as a safe place to make transactions with strangers. eBay owned PayPal was not affected as it uses completely separate systems, but will probably not completely escape the bad publicity due to the synonymy that exists between the two companies. Needless to say, if your PayPal credentials are the same as your eBay ones then you should change those too.

eBay has seen their share prices fall by 1.73% since the attack, and a survey found that 49% of Brits no longer trust eBay.

Apple follows suit… and lands itself law suit

Apple has also recently had an embarrassing breach of security, mainly in Australia, where users are suddenly finding themselves locked out of their iPhones, iPads and Macs by a hacker calling himself Oleg Pliss. Users’ iCloud login credentials appear to have been compromised, although it is not known how. The hacker is then able to use these credentials to log in to iCloud and remotely lock the device.

If you had already set your own passcode you can just unlock the device using it, then change your iCloud passcode. If you had not set a passcode, then remotely locking the device requires that a new one is set up. Of course, you won’t know what it is, so you’ll have to plug the device into a computer and perform a factory reset, then restore from your last itunes backup. Which is more than a bit annoying. Alternatively, you could just pay the requested $100 into the specified paypal account and hope that Oleg unlocks your device.

If you never bothered to set a passcode on your device before, then this is a pretty strong incentive to do so now. It’s also well worth changing your iCloud password to stay on the safe side.

Read these tips to protect yourself against the Apple remote lock attacks.

This latest concern has come not long after Apple faced bad publicity over an issue which caused messages sent via iMessage to not be delivered when users switched from iPhones to non-Apple devices. One Californian woman is suing Apple for $5 million as a result of “countless” undelivered messages after she switched from an iPhone to an Android phone.