The internet is in meltdown today after news broke overnight that hackers may have managed to steal explicit private photos of over 100 celebrities and Hollywood stars and leak them online.
Although yet to be confirmed, it’s possible that the nude pics were obtained after the leaker managed to compromise the iCloud accounts of said celebs, who include Hunger Games star Jennifer Lawrence.
Her spokesperson issued the following statement, according to The Independent:
“This is a flagrant violation of privacy. The authorities have been contacted and will prosecute anyone who posts the stolen photos of Jennifer Lawrence.”
Other celebrities apparently affected include Sports Illustrated model Kate Upton, singer Rihanna and Spiderman actress Kirsten Dunst.
The photos of Lawrence were first posted to popular forum 4chan in a bid to elicit Bitcoins, before finding their way to Reddit and out onto the wider social web.
However, some stars, including singer Victoria Justice, have already taken to the internet to claim that their ‘photos’ were faked.
It’s not the first time celebrities have been embarrassed after private photos were hacked and leaked online.
In 2011 Christopher Chaney was arrested and eventually sentenced to a decade in prison after hacking the email accounts of Scarlett Johansson and others.
Charles Sweeney, CEO of web security firm Bloxx, argued that wherever data is stored, there are some simple steps which can help keep it protected from external threats.
“Lock your devices with a password and change it regularly, the same goes for the password that you use to access online services and don’t use the same one for both,” he told Infosecurity.
“And lastly don’t use unsecured Wi-Fi connections as you never know who is lurking in the digital background.”
Chris Boyd, malware intelligence analyst at Malwarebytes, claimed the incident should be a reminder of the dangers of storing sensitive material in the cloud.
“With today’s devices being very keen to push data to their own respective cloud services, people should be careful that sensitive media isn’t automatically uploaded to the web, or other paired devices,” he said.
“People should also investigate the deletion procedures for online storage. Many services allow you to ‘undo’ deletions, which could cause problems in certain situations.”
Mark James, security expert at Eset, argued that two factor authentication should be the standard method for accessing data stored online.
“What we need is the ability to choose what is and isn’t stored in the cloud. If you’re going to take private pictures it is advisable to use a conventional camera as this provides much more control over where they end up,” he told Infosecurity .
“Remember if you do decide to use the cloud to store your photos you should consider two-factor authentication to protect it; both iCloud and Dropbox offer this service. Although it’s not going to protect against a physical server hack, it should protect you from username and password hacks.”