Nude celebrity photos put a cloud over iCloud

Apple’s iCloud is under fire in the wake of nude celebrity photos leaked online over the holiday weekend. Some of the celebrities claim the images of them are fakes, while others acknowledge that the nude photos are legitimate, and are deeply offended by the violation of their personal privacy.

When the news first broke, many assumed the hackers must have exploited a vulnerability in iCloud itself to gain access. Apple is investigating the incident, and it confirmed that hackers did gain access to the iCloud accounts in question, however Apple denies that the hack was related to any flaw or security weakness in iCloud itself.

There is some speculation that hackers may have intercepted sensitive data on these celebrities if they connected to a public Wi-Fi network at an event like the Emmy Awards. The iCloud connection itself is HTTPS and should be encrypted–even on a public Wi-Fi network–but it is still possible that celebrities may have inadvertently shared sensitive information that could then be used to gain access to a secondary account.

It is still speculation at this point, which is why I wrote a post about not throwing stones at iCloud just yet:

Over the Labor Day weekend, hackers leaked nude images of a number of celebrities including “Hunger Games” star Jennifer Lawrence. The images appear to have been acquired from Apple’s iCloud. So, iCloud is obviously insecure and everyone should stop using it—right?

Let’s just cool our jets. Yes, iCloud appears to have played a role in at least some of the hacked nude celebrity images, but details are still too sketchy to start connecting dots that indict the entire Apple cloud storage service.

Apple has issued a statement confirming that certain celebrity iCloud accounts were compromised but notes, “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.”

Boris Gorin, head of security engineering at FireLayers, thinks we shouldn’t be throwing stones at iCloud. “The images leaked have been gradually appearing on several boards on the net prior to the post at 4chan—making it reasonable to believe they were not part of a single hack, but of several compromises that occurred over time.”

You can read the full post at PCWorld: Don’t blame iCloud yet for hacked celebrity nudes.

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