Celebrity Nude Leaks Calls iCloud Security Into Question

By the Numbers: 450 million

A trove of celebrity nudes leaked on the Internet, including Jennifer Lawrence (see cover), forced Apple to defend its iCloud security. The company’s answer: It’s not our fault.

No “hacking” resulted in the celebrity skin-gate, the company maintains, adding, in a textbook case of victim-blaming, that Lawrence and the dozens of other famous victims should’ve come up with better security questions.

While that may technically hold true—perhaps no one manipulated lines of code to dig into the cloud—someone did game the system. All it may have taken was impersonating an iCloud user, pretending to have forgotten their password and guessing security questions with personal information up for grabs on social media accounts.

A two-factor verification could prevent an outsider from hacking an account, but Apple makes that step voluntary. Its unclear how many of the iCloud’s 450 million-or-so reported users could then be vulnerable to a privacy breach of their own.

Logging into strangers’ iCloud accounts is so simple, evidently, that there are entire message boards populated by photographic bounty reaped from so-called “iCloud rippers,” who treat nude photo theft, even from non-celebs, as something of a sport. The FBI is investigating the digital privacy breach.

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