Not long after Jennifer Lawrence, Kate Upton, McKayla Maroney, Jessica Brown-Findlay and some other 100 celebrities started making the rounds on the internet . Media houses and the security experts attributed the leak to a breach of Apple’s iCloud storage system.
Apple has today released a statement to try and clear things up, according to Apple investigations the incident was a “very targeted attack on user names, passwords and security questions” in which some celebrity accounts were “compromised” and that none of its systems were breached in the process. In other words, we may not be looking at a savvy hack exploiting a Find my iPhone security flaw so much as some very dedicated account brute-forcing and phishing. Of course, that’s not to say that the pictures in question (well, the ones that weren’t taken with Android devices anyway) didn’t come from iCloud, just that hackers apparently didn’t directly crack the sanctity of Apple’s iCloud service.
The exact vector of entry remains unknown right now, but AnonIB, an anonymous image board appears to be involved in the distribution of the pictures and videos. Even though Apple computers were not technically breached, it is obvious that the Hackers used the mechanisms put in-place by Apple to gain unauthorized access to these pictures which in constitutes a breach. Check out Apple’s full statement below:
We wanted to provide an update to our investigation into the theft of photos of certain celebrities. When we learned of the theft, we were outraged and immediately mobilized Apple’s engineers to discover the source. Our customers’ privacy and security are of utmost importance to us. 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.
To protect against this type of attack, we advise all users to always use a stong password and enable two-step verification. Both of these are addressed on our website at https://support.apple.com/kb/ht4232.