When over a hundred female celebrities saw their nude pictures and videos posted on 4chan, to be circulated on Reddit and other social media sites, many blamed security breaches in iCloud or the Find My iPhone app for allowing hackers to access the private data.
Apple has now vehemently denied these reports. The company said in the statement: "After more than 40 hours of investigation, 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 on the internet."
"None of the cases we have investigated has resulted from any breach in any of Apple's systems including iCloud or Find my iPhone. We are continuing to work with law enforcement to help identify the criminals involved."
Instead, the tech giant believes that hackers stole the images through phishing, a common technique that involves masking an innocuous looking online interaction with malware to gain access to confidential information.
There is speculation that the nude leak is the work of different hackers working over a period of several months, as opposed to a single individual.
"The images leaked have been gradually appearing on several boards on the net prior to the post at 4chan – making it reasonable to believe they were not part of a single hack, but of several compromises that occurred over time," Boris Gorin, head of security engineering at FireLayers told PCWorld.
Gorin offers up an interesting theory: the hacks may have occurred while the celebrities involved were connected to an open source wi-fi at the Emmy Awards.
iCloud was initially implicated in the case because the majority of the images were reportedly taken on iPhones, which often automatically upload all photos to the cloud. So while a specific Apple security breach isn't the blame, it's still entirely possible that hackers still stole the images from iCloud. So if you're kinda worried your nude selfies might be at risk, it's best to disable iCloud entirely; find out how you can keep your images safe here.
In other horrifying news, one anonymous hacker has threatened to release Jennifer Lawrence's sex tape, and is accepting PayPal donations for the video. Here's hoping the FBI nail those shits fast.
Follow Thomas Gorton on Twitter here @angstromhoot
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