Everything You Should Know About the Nude Celebrity Photo Leak – Apple iCloud, 4chan, Hackers, and Collectors
In the last 48 hours, months old worth of private celebrity nude photos was leaked to anonymous image boards like AnonIB and 4chan.
Sexually explicit private photos were reportedly stolen from the phones and Apple iCloud accounts of celebrities such as Jennifer Lawrence, Ariana Grande and Kate Upton.
All of these leaked photos begs the question, where did the photos come from? How did the photos leak from private cell phones onto the world wide web? Is there an “underground ring” of hackers with access to our private photos?
Here’s everything we know so far.
These photos are not new and have been circulating online for a while.
TMZ allegedly offered to pay hackers cash for the photos. But, the hackers later declined the offer saying it was not enough. The photos were later published on the anonymous message boards on August 26 and many users were asking for money and trades for the collection of celebrity photos. Eventually, the photos went viral and were shared on 4chan, Reddit and Imgur.
I didn’t take the money and run. S**t got weird once I started posting samples, the hacker wrote on website 4Chan, before lamenting the amount earned from the pictures.
People wanted s*** for free. Sure, I got $120 with my bitcoin address, but when you consider how much time was put into acquiring this stuff (i’m not the hacker, just a collector), and the money (i paid a lot via bitcoin as well to get certain sets when this stuff was being privately traded Friday/Saturday) I really didn’t get close to what I was hoping. [via]
The set of photos took several years not days of work to “collect”
If things are not creepy enough, the original group of individuals that got hold of the photos like to consider themselves as “collectors” and not “hackers”. According to Gawker, the “collectors” gained access to photographs that were old or had been deleted weeks to months ago.
As the message above demonstrates, it appears that there are a group of hackers that actively collect and trade nude photographs with each other. However, it is not an orchestrated attempt to steal nude celebrity photos but a group of hackers working independently to add to their collection.
The nude celebrity “ring” also has an initiation process with includes you either providing your own nude photographs, or buying your way in.
The photos were most likely stolen using brute force attacks against iCloud accounts.
There is evidence that suggests that the hackers are able to access celebrity photos with only an e-mail address. According to Zdnet, Apple recently patched an exploit with its Find My iPhone online service. The exploit may have been used by hackers to obtain personal photos stored on iCloud accounts.
The code exploited a vulnerability with the Find My iPhone sign in page that allowed hackers to flood the site with password attempts without being locked out. By employing brute forcing techniques, hackers could use this to guess the password used to protect the account.
However, anonymous message board users still claim that are able to access personal photos using brute force attacks such as, EPPB, or Elcomsoft Phone Password Breaker.
The FBI is currently involved
“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,” an FBI spokesperson told the LA Times. “Any further comment would be inappropriate at this time.”
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