FBI and Apple look into massive celebrity iCloud photo hacking

Kate Upton
Both the FBI and Apple are looking into the alleged security breach of iCloud accounts belonging to celebrities that enabled hackers to nab private and in some cases highly personal photos and videos before posting them on image-based bulletin board 4chan.

The content apparently contains naked and semi-naked photos and videos of more than 100 A-list celebrities, among them Oscar-winning actress Jennifer Lawrence, singer Rihanna, swimsuit model Kate Upton, and TV star Kim Kardashian. While some of the celebrities argue that the pictures are frauds, others have confirmed that the posted photos of themselves are indeed authentic.

“Clicking on links to ‘naked celebrity’ photos would be a *very* bad idea right now.”

“The authorities have been contacted and will prosecute anyone who posts the stolen photos of Jennifer Lawrence,” said a spokesperson for the movie star

Although hackers named iCloud as the source of the content, Apple hasn’t yet confirmed whether this is the case. However, the tech company on Monday acknowledged the incident, with spokesperson Natalie Kerris saying “we take user privacy very seriously and are actively investigating this report.”

The FBI has also said it’s looking into the apparent security breach. In a statement issued Monday, the government agency said “the FBI is aware of the allegations concerning computer intrusions and the unlawful release of material involving high-profile individuals, and is addressing the matter. Any further comment would be inappropriate at this time.”

Related: Digital Trends’ guide to using iCloud

Some security experts have suggested that if iCloud is the sole source of the stolen content, then those affected were almost certainly not using two-factor authentication, a security process which adds another layer of protection to an account by asking for a security code, as well as the account’s password. Apple introduced the option of two-factor authentication 18 months ago.

However, other experts, including Rik Ferguson of security software firm Trend Micro, described a wide-scale hack of iCloud as “unlikely.” He also noted that hackers were likely to target websurfers seeking the racy images.

“For obvious reasons, clicking on links to ‘naked celebrity’ photos, or opening email attachments would be a *very* bad idea right now, expect criminals to ride this bandwagon immediately.”

At the time of writing, there appears to be no clear consensus among the online security community about exactly how the attack took place or where the images were taken from.

As we await further details regarding the precise nature of the hack, this could be a good time to evaluate the state of your own online security.  It you’re yet to activate two-factor authentication with online accounts where it’s offered, you might want to consider taking some time to do so.

Mobile

Instagram tool accidentally exposes user passwords. Were you affected?

Instagram's Download Your Data tool accidentally exposed the passwords of a small number of users. Here is the explanation on what happened, and how to find out which Instagram accounts were compromised.
Movies & TV

'Prime'-time TV: Here are the best shows on Amazon Prime right now

There's more to Amazon Prime than free two-day shipping, including access to a number of phenomenal shows at no extra cost. To make the sifting easier, here are our favorite shows currently streaming on Amazon Prime.
Computing

Latest SMS breach could allow hackers access to your online accounts

A new security breach that exposed more than 26 million text messages could be a huge nightmare for users relying on two-factor authentication. Many of the SMS on the database contained security codes and account reset links.
Mobile

These 100 best iPhone apps will turn your phone into a jack-of-all-trades

The iPhone is the most popular smartphone in the world, and we want to bring out the best in yours. Behold our comprehensive list of the best iPhone apps, from time-saving productivity tools to fun apps you won’t be able to put down.
Computing

The MacBook is smaller, the MacBook Air is faster, but which is better?

This year, Apple's MacBook Air got a powerful internal upgrade, but the redesign makes it slimmer and lighter. So should you get the MacBook Air over the MacBook? We'll compare both notebook's major features and help you decide.
Mobile

Best iPhone 7 Plus screen protectors to shield your big, beautiful display

Cracked screens are expensive to replace. Fortunately for you, we've rounded up what's available in terms of protection for Apple's large iPhone 7 Plus. Here are the best screen protectors you can buy.
Mobile

New sensor from L’Oréal tracks UV exposure to keep your skin safe from the sun

L'Oréal has announced a new wearable sensor that attaches to your clothing and can track ultraviolet light. The sensor uses NFC instead of Bluetooth -- meaning it doesn't need a battery to work properly.
Gaming

15 tips for keeping your vault-dwellers alive in ‘Fallout Shelter’

The wasteland can be an unfriendly place, if you don't know what you're doing. Here are 15 tips that will help your vault thrive in Fallout Shelter, including information on questing.
Computing

All the best Apple MacBook deals for Black Friday 2018

Shoppers looking for a new Apple laptop could find huge savings on a new MacBook come Black Friday. Retailers are offering discounts as much as $650 on select MacBook, MacBook Air, and MacBook Pro models this holiday season.
Computing

Apple discontinues AirPort Extreme, Time Capsule as it exits Wi-Fi router business

Apple is now officially no longer in the router business. The company had already stopped selling the AirPort Express, and now its retail stores and websites have stopped offering the AirPort Extreme and Time Capsule.
Mobile

Use multiple phone numbers on one device with Verizon’s ‘My Numbers’ app

For those who have separate phone numbers and devices for your work and personal lives, Verizon wants to help you get more organized. With its new "My Numbers" app, you can use up to four additional phone numbers on a single smartphone.
Mobile

Need a quick battery boost? Try one of our favorite portable chargers

Battery life still tops the polls when it comes to smartphone concerns. If it’s bugging you, then maybe it’s time to snag yourself a portable charger. Here are our picks of the best portable chargers.
Computing

Style up your MacBook Air with one of these great cases or sleeves

Whether you’re looking for added protection or a stylish flourish, you’re in the right place for the best MacBook Air cases. We have form-hugging cases, luxurious covers and padded sleeves priced from $7 to $130. Happy shopping!
Mobile

New iPad Pro’s durability in question after it fails YouTuber’s bend test

The new iPad Pro models failed a bend test that was carried out by popular YouTuber JerryRigEverything. The result raises questions about the durability of the tablets, especially since customers are also reporting bending issues.