by Jackie Thompson
In the latest celebrity photo leak, nude photos of over one hundred celebrities were leaked after a hack of Apple’s online security back-up service, iCloud, on Sunday, August 29. The photos were posted online on 4chan, an Internet message board, by an anonymous user. The FBI is now working with some of the alleged victims on the case, according to CNN.
The list of victims includes A-list celebrities like Academy Award-winning actress Jennifer Lawrence and model Kate Upton. Their nude photos were splattered all over the Internet on websites like Reddit, Tumblr, Twitter, and 4chan. Upton describes the leak as “an outrageous violation” of her privacy and Lawrence’s publicist notes that “authorities have been contacted and will prosecute anyone who posts the stolen photos of Jennifer Lawrence.”
Cory Allen Contemporary Art (CACA) announced that the leaked nudes of Lawrence and Upton will be featured in Los Angeles artist, XVALA,’s upcoming “No Delete” show at CACA’s The Showroom in Saint Petersburg, Florida. The photos will be plastered on life-size canvases as a part of the “Fear Google” campaign which makes a clear statement about the debate of privacy in our digital era. The “No Delete” show currently houses pictures of Britney Spear’s shaved head and naked images of Scarlett Johansson in the streets of Los Angeles.
In leaking these photos, the anonymous hacker took advantage of a flaw in the iCloud system. Most websites will lock a user out after many unsuccessful attempts to log in, but Apple’s iCloud failed in this respect. Security questions also intended to further confirm the identity of the user are ultimately useless to celebrities: nearly of all their personal information can be found online on sites like Wikipedia. Apple stated on Tuesday, September 1 that their core computer systems, those that house all users’ data, were not compromised. “Certain celebrity accounts were compromised by a very targeted attack on user names, passwords and security questions,” Apple said.
In response to the recent leaks, Apple plans to put new programs in place to protect user security. The company will employ push and email notifications when someone attempts to change a password, restore cloud data on a new device, or connect a new device to an existing Apple account. Upon receiving one of these new notifications, users will be given directions to take back their accounts immediately. Apple also plans to begin using a two-step authentication process. With this, a temporary password is sent to the user, usually by text, along with the traditional username and password log-in.
Apple’s stock struggled following the release of these nude photographs. The shares slumped 4%, its worst percentage drop since late January. The hacking also cast an iCloud over the release of the new iPhone 6 and Apple Watch. Many Apple users are still wary of the safety of their private information. After an initial rise in the company’s stock price, the stock struggled and continues to do so.