herald

Sunday 22 October 2017

Passwords blamed for nude celeb leaks as Cat named on list

Hundreds of naked photos and explicit videos of Hollywood stars were not hacked by breaches in the security of Apple's computer systems, the firm said tonight.

The US tech giant said; "we have discovered that certain celebrity accounts were compromised by a very targeted attack on user names, passwords and security questions, a practice that has become all too common on the Internet.

The statement continued: "To protect against this type of attack, we advise all users to always use a strong password and enable two-step verification."

The leaking of the private photos of famous female stars sparked initial suggestions that Apple's iCloud service had been compromised to access the images and leak them across the internet.

Meanwhile, industry insiders have said they believe that the leaked nude celebrity photos have been on the black market for up to a week.

Irish comedian Patrick Kielty's wife Cat Deeley is the latest name to emerge as one of those allegedly affected by the hack of Apple's iCloud service.

Boasting

Hackers were boasting for several days before the pictures were uploaded on Sunday that they had amassed photos of up to 100 celebrities.

And they said that they would be biding their time before making public the full extent of their hacking. The leak saw Oscar-winning actress Jennifer Lawrence, model Cara Delevigne and former Downton Abbey actress Jessica Brown Findlay linked to the list of around 100 famous people whose intimate pictures were posted online.

Other stars said to have been affected by the nude picture leak include Avril Lavigne, Cat Deeley and Rihanna, with actress Mary Elizabeth Winstead lashing out at people who were looking up the private pictures.

She wrote online: "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."

Scandal

A spokeswoman for Hunger Games star Jennifer Lawrence, who is one of the biggest stars to be caught up in the scandal, said the actress had asked US authorities to prosecute whoever is posting the photos.

The FBI and Apple are both investigating the online hack.

FBI spokeswoman Laura Eimiller said it was "aware of the allegations concerning computer intrusions and the unlawful release of material involving high profile individuals"

A piece of computer code that repeatedly guesses passwords has been found online. The script was posted to software site GitHub, but a message has since appeared saying that Apple has issued a "patch" or fix for the bug.

"The end of the fun, Apple has just patched," read an update on the post.

According to the post, the script uses the top 500 most common passwords approved by Apple in order to try and gain access to user accounts.

hnews@herald.ie

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