Nude Celebrity Hack May Be ICloud Breach in Run-Up to New IPhone

Sep 01, 2014 1:58 pm ET

Sept. 1 (Bloomberg) -- Apple Inc.’s iCloud service may have been used to illegally access nude photos of actress Jennifer Lawrence and other celebrities, raising security concerns as the company prepares to unveil its newest iPhone.

Hackers posted the nude photos on the anonymous image- sharing website 4chan, the Telegraph in London reported. The photos targeting more than 100 celebrities were allegedly obtained by breaking into iCloud accounts, the newspaper said.

“This is a flagrant violation of privacy,” the Telegraph quoted a spokesman for Oscar winner Lawrence as saying after confirming the photos. “The authorities have been contacted and will prosecute anyone who posts the stolen photos.”

The iCloud service lets users store contacts, e-mails, photos and other personal information on external systems they can access virtually. Apple has fixed a bug in its “Find My iPhone” software that may have allowed hackers to gain access to the celebrity iCloud accounts, the Engadget technology website reported, citing developers.

Trudy Muller, a spokeswoman for Apple, didn’t return an e- mail and phone messages seeking comment. The company is closed for the U.S. Labor Day holiday.

The celebrity hack comes days before Apple’s scheduled Sept. 9 product announcement near its headquarters in Cupertino, California. Apple will introduce bigger-display iPhones and a wearable device at the event, people with knowledge of the plans have said. Anticipation for the event boosted Apple’s shares to a record close on Aug. 29 of $102.50, a 28 percent gain this year.

Hacked Accounts

The celebrities hacked included reality TV star Kim Kardashian and singer Rihanna, the Telegraph reported. Actresses Selena Gomez and Kirsten Dunst also were among the cache, Time Inc. reported on its website. The hackers promised to post more photos, Time reported.

“To those of you looking at photos I took with my husband years ago in the privacy of our home, hope you feel great about yourselves,” actress Mary Elizabeth Winstead posted on Twitter. “Knowing those photos were deleted long ago, I can only imagine the creepy effort that went into this.”

Some of the hacked celebrities, including former Nickelodeon star Victoria Justice, said the photographs purported to be of them weren’t real. “These so called nudes of me are FAKE people,” Justice posted on Twitter.

--With assistance from Adam Satariano in San Francisco and Matt Townsend in New York.