Tech giant Apple, which has been facing enough criticism for the leak of many nude pictures of celebrities including Oscar winning actress Jennifer Lawrence due to an alleged breach in its iCloud storage system, on Tuesday said that there was no such compromise on its security part and a ‘targeted attack’ led to the release of photos on the online forums.
Soon after the news of hack of celeb accounts on iCloud storage was broke, Apple rushed into ‘active investigation’, pledging for finding the reason behind the incidence at the earliest.
In a statement of Tuesday, the company said:
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.
This is the first official statement released by the company since the release of private and nude photographs of many female celebs including Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Jennifer Lawrence, Arriane Grande, Kate Upton, Avril Lavigne and over 100 others on an image-based bulletin board 4chan and other social networking forums on Sunday.
While some of these leaked photos were labeled fake, many other personal ones were confirmed as genuine by the celebs themselves.
“When we learned about the theft, we were outraged. We immediately mobilized our engineers to figure out the source of leak at the earliest,” Apple said in the statement.
Insiders from the company said that the accounts of the celebrities were hacked probably using easy-to-guess passwords or by phishing, i.e. sharing their personal information to hackers posing as Apple.
Meanwhile, the Federal Bureau of Investigation has also taken up the case and is investigating the matter.
According to the US law enforcement agency, the FBI “is aware of the hack of personal materials of high-profile people following unlawful computer intrusions and it is probing into the matter”.
When asked about further details on the investigation, Laura Eimiller, FBI spokeswoman in Los Angeles, said, “The probe is on…Any further comment would be inappropriate at this time”.
Mary Elizabeth Winstead, one of the actresses whose real nude photographs were stolen from the iCloud store and leaked online, expressed her angst on microblogging site Twitter.
“Knowing those photos were deleted long ago, I can only imagine the creepy effort that went into this. Feeling for everyone who got hacked.”
— Mary E. Winstead (@M_E_Winstead) August 31, 2014
According to singer Victoria Justice, the ‘images showing her were anything but the real deal’.
“It’s time for public figures to realize the potential risks posed by ever-advancing technology,” celebrity lawyer Gloria Allred said.
‘If you wouldn’t want to see your personal space compromised on tomorrow’s front page don’t sent it via unencrypted email or store it in public cloud services, or on your cell phone for that matter,’ Allred added.
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