The hacked nude photographs leaked online of actresses including Jennifer Lawrence and Kate Upton have been traded on the Internet for at least a week and could be just the tip of the iceberg of stolen celebrity pictures. Exchanged on the deep web black market and deviant message boards specializing in stolen 'revenge porn' photography, the compromising pictures have been used as a currency of sorts among perverted members of these forums. Indeed, in the aftermath of Sunday's mass dumping of naked pictures, these boards have descended into anarchy and infighting, with a civil war erupting between those who leaked the pictures and those furious their sordid, secret game has been thrown into the public eye.
Worringly for the general public is how simple the posters make their privacy theft seem - and raises the frightening prospect that Apple's iCloud used by millions is not safe for anyone to store sensitive information on. Selfies leaked: Jennifer Lawrence was the victim of a hacker who posted more than 60 revealing images of the actress online.
In the days before the stolen images were uploaded en masse to the 4chan anonymous image-sharing forum on Sunday, the Internet had been awash with claims by web-perverts that they were trading in the embarrassing photographs. Among these boasts were that the hackers had accumulated pictures of at least celebrities - and were biding their time before releasing them all online.
However, these outrageous claims seemed to originate not on 4chan, but the pornographic image board, AnonIB, which focuses usually on pornographic photographs of non-celebrity women. During the last week, threads dedicated to Jennifer Lawrence that claimed to contain genuine images of the naked actress began to flood AnonIB - now proved to be real following the actresses confirmation that the pictures are indeed her.
According to those with knowledge of the threads on AnonIB and 4chan, the hacking of the nude pictures from Apple's iCloud was not a sudden smash and grab raid on the privacy of the women, rather collected over time until the list of their alleged victims stood at in total. Almost a week ago: These posts taken from AnonIB reveal the beginnings of boasts in updates which refer to Jennifer Lawrence and a 'major win'.
Boasts: The posts from one week ago are in reference to Jennifer Lawrence's nude pictures being traded online on AnonIB. Disbelief: Some posters openly questioned whether the Jennifer Lawrence threads were really genuinely showing pictures of the star. Realization: On Sunday it dawned on users of AnonIB that the images being peddled for the past week online were in fact genuine.
It also seems that the hacking may not even be down to one individual, but may in fact be the work of a number of people. Denial: Georgia software engineer Bryan Hamade has claimed he has been falsely identified as the hacker online by reddit. The first sign that pictures of Jennifer Lawrence might be online was a post from AnonIB user on Tuesday 26 August that claimed a 'major win' for hackers looking for nude pictures of the Oscar winner. However, many other posters on the anonymous board were skeptical that the pictures were of Lawrence, 24, until a slew of claims made by different posters all popped up on the board with the same revealing pictures.
One in particular bragged that he was 'ripping iclouds' - which is allegedly how the pictures were stolen. However, in the posts the individual claims that the pictures have been online for some time - possibly weeks - which adds credence to the claims they possess the nude images of dozens more celebrities.
One person named online as a hacker by reddit users, has already come forward to deny any allegations against him. Bryan Hamade told MailOnline that he was categorically not behind any hacking of celebrities private pictures and has not released any to the public.
He claims that he was identified after he lied to a reddit user to try and get bitcoins from them with a photoshopped picture of a celebrity. This lie caused suspicion to fall on him and a huge reddit investigation reminiscent of their incorrect efforts to name the Boston bombers was launched. Hacked: Mary Elizabeth Winstead tweeted that nude photographs of her were taken with her husband 'years ago in the privacy of our home'. In an effort to cast the blame elsewhere, Bryan said that he believes the images released on 4chan may not have been leaked by the person or persons who stole them.
This comes as it was claimed a flaw in the 'Find My iPhone' function of Apple's iCloud service may have helped a hacker to steal nude photos of Jennifer Lawrence and ' other celebrities', it today emerged. The hacker claims he or she broke into stars' iCloud accounts, including those of the Hunger Games actress, Kate Upton and Rihanna, before publishing them on 4chan, the image-sharing forum. A list of the alleged victims of the hack - in total - has also been posted online; most of whom have not seen any photographs leaked by the hacker.
A spokesman for Oscar winner Lawrence confirmed to MailOnline the photos of her are genuine. The authorities have been contacted and will prosecute anyone who posts the stolen photos of Jennifer Lawrence,' the emailed statement read. Following the publication of the images of Sunday night, experts have voiced their concerns over how the hacker managed to access them.
Now, reports suggest that a specific flaw in the 'Find My iPhone' service may have been to blame. Despite the story breaking last night, Apple is still yet to confirm or deny whether its software was the target of the hacking. Comment: Mary Elizabeth Winstead took to Twitter to speak about her nude leaked photos.
The hacking victim also offered support for other celebrities whose nude photos were leaked. Means: The naked photographs were reportedly obtained via Apple's iCloud service pictured. The firm's iCloud service, which was launched in October and is used by more than million people worldwide, secures data by encrypting it when it is sent over the web, storing it in an encrypted format when kept on server, and using secure tokens for authentication. This means that data is protected from hackers while it is being sent to devices and stored online.
This suggests the hackers were able to obtain the login credentials of the accounts, and pretend to be the user, in order to bypass this encryption. A message has since appeared saying that Apple has issued a 'patch' or fix for the bug. Brute force, also known as 'brute force cracking', is a trial-and-error method used to get plain-text passwords from encrypted data. Just as a criminal might break into, or 'crack' a safe by trying many possible combinations, a brute-force cracking attempt goes through all possible combinations of characters in sequence.
Owen Williams from The Next Web, who discovered the bug, said: 'The Python script found on GitHub appears to have allowed a malicious user to repeatedly guess passwords on Apple's "Find my iPhone" service without alerting the user or locking out the attacker. Many users use simple passwords that are the same across services so it's entirely possible to guess passwords using a tool like this. In our day-to-day work we see too many cases of employees divulging sensitive information without first verifying the legitimacy of the request.
Human error, in a variety of ways, said Mr Cotton, often played a part. Despite the claims, it is possible that the photos were not taken via iCloud, but as a result of 'social engineering'. This form of hacking works by studying which online services your target uses, before compiling as much information on them as possible, such as their email address, a mother's maiden name, a date of birth, and more.
This data can then be used to trick them into handing over their details or guess their password. If a celebrity uses the same password across accounts, this would be then make it relatively easy for someone to hack if they had the right information. But the sheer number of names on the list makes this unlikely — unless a large number of hackers were taking part, and a large number of celebrities had poor password management.
Is it them? The hacker published what he or she claimed were naked photographs of Kate Upton left and Kirsten Dunst right. Upton's attorney called the photos of his client 'an outrageous violation' of privacy. Did it happen? Cat Deeley was named as a victim whose photographs were stolen, but no supposedly 'nude' images of her have appeared online. Nickelodeon star Victoria Justice wrote on Twitter that her image was faked.
Let me nip this in the bud right now. However, this theory would account for Mary Elizabeth Winstead's claims that the leaked photos of her were taken with her husband 'years ago'. This amount of time exceeds iCloud's Photo Stream facility, which keeps images for a maximum of 30 days before they are deleted. Other notable services to allow users to access files remotely include Dropbox and Google Drive, which enable users to keep more of their files close to hand without taking up huge amounts of memory on their devices.
When activated, iCloud automatically stores users' photos, emails, documents and other information in a 'cloud', allowing them to sync the data across a range of platforms. These include iPhones, iPads and MacBooks.
Users can then access their information from any internet-connected device using a log-in and password. Mysterious: A spokesman denied that nude photographs of Ariana Grande left were published. Hillary Duff was named as an alleged victim, though her apparently 'nude' photos have not appeared online.
On Sunday, the hacker wrote that he or she is accepting Paypal donations for a video which allegedly shows Lawrence performing a sex act. The hacker also wrote, 'I know no one will believe me, but i have a short lawrence video. The celebrity blogger, who has since deleted the photos from the site, told his followers: 'I acted in haste just to get the post up and didn't really think things through.
I'm sorry. He added: 'Upon further reflection and just sitting with my actions, I don't feel comfortable even keeping the censored photos up. I am removing them. Nude photos of Selena Gomez left and Kim Kardashian right were also allegedly hacked and acquired. But no photographs have appeared online.
Denial: Victoria Justice said on Twitter that nude photos which claim to show her are fake. Actress Mary Elizabeth Winstead, who confirmed she was a hacking victim, wrote on Twitter '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.
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