Apparent massive hack attack reveals stars' nude pictures

Sep 01, 2014
Oscar-winning American actress Jennifer Lawrence at the "X-Men: Days Of Future Past" world premiere in New York on May 10, 2014

Scandal rocked both Hollywood and the US tech industry Monday after an apparent hack of a cloud data service unleashed a torrent of intimate pictures of celebrities onto the Internet.

Anonymous posters to online message boards boasted of having nude images of scores of female stars including Oscar-winning actress Jennifer Lawrence, pop icon Rihanna and top model Kate Upton.

Early reports suggested hackers had "ripped" private images from tech giant Apple's iCloud online data storage, but the firm made no immediate comment and other services may have been targeted.

Some of the pictures had previously been circulated on message forums, and others appeared fake, but some major stars expressed outrage at a new breach and threatened legal action.

"This is a flagrant violation of privacy. The authorities have been contacted and will prosecute anyone who posts the stolen photos of Jennifer Lawrence," Lawrence's agent told entertainment media.

By late Sunday, Twitter had begun suspending accounts that linked to the Lawrence photos, tech news site Mashable reported.

Among the scores of celebrities whose pictures were allegedly stolen were Scarlett Johansson, Winona Ryder, Avril Lavigne, Amber Heard, Hayden Panettiere and Hope Solo.

Former Nickelodeon star and singer Victoria Justice said the images claiming to show her nude were anything but the real deal.

"These so called nudes of me are FAKE people. Let me nip this in the bud right now. *pun intended*" she tweeted.

Barbadian pop star Rihanna pictured at the World Cup match between Germany and Argentina in Rio de Janeiro on July 13, 2014

A spokesperson for actress and pop star Ariana Grande told BuzzFeed that images said to be of her are "completely fake."

'Creepy effort'

But horror movie actress Mary Elizabeth Winstead confirmed that some of her private pictures were in circulation and condemned those who stole them and who circulated them.

"To those of you looking at photos I took with my husband years ago in the privacy of our home, hope you feel great about yourselves," she tweeted.

"Knowing those photos were deleted long ago, I can only imagine the creepy effort that went into this. Feeling for everyone who got hacked."

The scale of the breach became apparent on Sunday when users of the 4chan message board, a diverse online community that has been criticized in the past for misogyny, began posting pictures.

Some more mainstream news and entertainment sites took up the story—and some linked to the images before taking them down amid legal threats and public outrage.

According to a report on news and gossip site Gawker, users of a AnonIB—an anonymous photo-sharing platform focused on stolen images of women—have been boasting of a hack since last week.

US actress Victoria Justice attends the 2014 MTV Video Music Awards at The Forum in Inglewood, California on August 24, 2014

Some users—hiding behind pseudonyms—made an apparent attempt to sell the pictures or to trade them with fellow hackers for others.

Tech news site The Next Web reported what it said was evidence that hackers had found a weakness in Apple's "Find my iPhone" service, an app that tracks lost or stolen handsets.

Apple has patched the alleged hole, the report said, but not before news of it spread in the hacker community, allowing unscrupulous strangers to access private online data.

The scale of the hack, and the targeting of women in the public eye, quickly revived the debate on social media about privacy concerns and about misogyny on the Internet.

The scandal also posed a public relations challenge to tech companies, who have been marketing online storage like iCloud, DropBox or GoogleDrive as a safe haven for users' private data.

Several popular tech blogs marked the story by providing advice on storing private data safely, by using advanced encryption and two-step password identification or by keeping it offline.

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User comments : 15

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Doug_Huffman
1.7 / 5 (3) Sep 01, 2014
LOL "A secret shared is a secret bared" acquires new meaning.
DDBear
3 / 5 (4) Sep 01, 2014
"The Cloud" is over-hyped, mostly a way for companies to generate recurring revenue streams from subscriptions, but it's terrible for consumers. Companies want to "own" your data. I hate what Adobe did changing to a subscription model, I hate Windows 8. This is the first time I feel like I don't want to update any of my software because "The Cloud" is contaminating the new software.
Szkeptik
5 / 5 (11) Sep 01, 2014
I don't understand the use of the word "Misogyny" here. Misogyny means a hatred of women. How does that come from stealing pictures? Did the hackers hate women and that was their reason for the theft?

Cloud services are very shaky. They store the data of millions of people and you only have to get through one firewall to get at it. You shouldn't keep anything important or personal in a cloud. Only stuff that you don't mind others seeing.

Also, the biggest problem here is not the hack itself but this:

"Knowing those photos were deleted long ago...", If that quote is true, there is a very serious problem with how these services handle your personal stuff. You delete something yet it obviously keeps existing on their servers.
Milou
3 / 5 (5) Sep 01, 2014
One quarter intelligence can tell you "Cloud" is a bad idea but, this proves the real worthiness/value of movie/TV stars. It's in the pants not in the brain.
NoTennisNow
3.3 / 5 (4) Sep 01, 2014
Cloud services are a stupid idea. We all know that hackers (from foreign governments especially) will put the "family jewels" available for plunder.
Aligo
Sep 01, 2014
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
Doug_Huffman
1 / 5 (3) Sep 01, 2014
Does any one here know what is The Barbara Streisand Effect?

It is named after Babs, whose 2003 attempt to suppress photographs of her residence in Malibu, California inadvertently generated further publicity of it.
SaulAlinsky
2.3 / 5 (3) Sep 01, 2014
Doug Huffman knows English? Holy crap.
antigoracle
4.2 / 5 (5) Sep 01, 2014
Ah, the day the cloud burst.
verkle
3 / 5 (8) Sep 01, 2014
We don't need these kind of articles on a science website.
Kinryu
1 / 5 (4) Sep 01, 2014
"The Cloud" is over-hyped, mostly a way for companies to generate recurring revenue streams from subscriptions, but it's terrible for consumers. Companies want to "own" your data. I hate what Adobe did changing to a subscription model, I hate Windows 8. This is the first time I feel like I don't want to update any of my software because "The Cloud" is contaminating the new software.


I really hate being rude but the sheer idiocy in your words baffles me. The ability to communicate information is so important for collaborating on projects the cloud sells itself. You can still buy CS6 in all it's glory easily, nobody is forcing you to use CC. And what on Earth does this have to do with Windows 8? It comes with Skydrive which takes 30 seconds to delete, is that too difficult for you?

Regarding the article this "hack" may have been more like they did enough research to answer security questions correctly, but since we do not know that it is pointless to speculate.
Uncle Ira
4.2 / 5 (5) Sep 01, 2014
Why would anybody put naked pictures of them self up in the interweb clouds anyway? I don't understand what the peoples who is pretending to be so mad about is mad about. If you wanted that nobody would see them putting up in the interweb clouds sounds pretty stupid to me. I wouldn't even put a regular with clothes on picture of me up in there.
Aligo
Sep 01, 2014
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
Uncle Ira
4.2 / 5 (5) Sep 01, 2014
I wouldn't even put a regular with clothes on picture of me up in there
No male/black celebrity nudes get leaked.


What the heck you talking about there Zephir-Skippy? I'm not black. But even if I was if I had any naked pictures of me I sure wouldn't put them in the interweb clouds. I don't see why anybody would unless they were hoping that somebody would find them or they get paid to do it.
Aligo
Sep 01, 2014
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
Code_Warrior
3 / 5 (2) Sep 01, 2014
I've seen the pics. It was foolish to take them in the first place. It was monumentally stupid to put them on the cloud. I hope they catch the hackers that did this and punish them to the fullest extent of the law.

On the other hand, the release of these pictures has already generated a ton of publicity for the celebrities and I wouldn't be surprised if the release of these pictures was orchestrated by the celebrities themselves. Regardless, I'm sure the celebrities will feign being upset while at the same time salivating at the free publicity.
btb101
not rated yet Sep 02, 2014
My favourite hack of the week...
Dept of Homeland had 25,000 employee details hacked..
Not nice when it happens to you!
But I keep wondering why it is not a crime when it happens to you but ok when its government sanctioned..
(rhetorical question)
HealingMindN
not rated yet Sep 02, 2014
...On the other hand, the release of these pictures has already generated a ton of publicity for the celebrities and I wouldn't be surprised if the release of these pictures was orchestrated by the celebrities themselves. Regardless, I'm sure the celebrities will feign being upset while at the same time salivating at the free publicity.


Oh yes, most excellent publicity for celebs. Hackers will be hacking, drilling and mining Apple for years to come, now. Does this count as a "gusher?"

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