Recent celebrity leaked photo scandals are showing celebrities that they need to be more careful with what they do with their private photographs. “Celebgate” occurred on August 31,2014 when nearly 200 private celebrity photos, mostly comprised of nude female photos were posted on a variety of social media sites around the web. These images were obtained by a group of hackers who called themselves a “collector” by breaching the iCloud service at Apple. The hackers made demands and said that they would stop distributing the leaked images in exchange for Bitcoin.
The nude celebrity photos were apparently passed around between a variety of people for several weeks before they were publicly released on August 31. The images were accessed when the hackers were able to exploit the service known as “Find My iPhone” which allowed them to discover the passwords for certain Apple IDs and gain access to their iCloud data.
Shortly after the photos started to appear online, some of the celebrities who were affected issued statements confirming or denying the authenticity of the photos. Among celebrities confirming authenticity were Kate Upton (and her boyfriend Justin Verlander), Jennifer Lawrence, Kaley Cuoco, Jessica Brown Findlay, Kirsten Dunst and Jill Scott. There were many celebrities who denied the authenticity of photos including Victoria Justice, Yvonne Strahovski, Ariana Grande and McKayla Maroney.
Many of the photos were of the celebrities in a variety of states of undress, but some were intimate photos that should never be shared. The hackers also accessed other personal information including calendars, phone call logs, address books, text messages and any other data that was on the phones of those celebrities and uploaded to the iCloud. Jennifer Lawrence immediately contacted authorities regarding her photos and her publicist has stated that anyone leaking images of the celebrity will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.
As far as Apple is concerned, CEO Tim Cook responded by stating that the company plans to take additional steps to ensure privacy and security of its users in the future. Some of those steps would including notifications that would be provided when data is accessed through a web browser or when data is restored to a device through iCloud. These notifications would be additional to those that a user receives when their password is changed.
Celebrity leaked photo scandals are nothing new, of course. In 2011 a former girlfriend of Chris Brown released some nude photos of the celeb, but her stunt backfired when Brown stated that he was not ashamed of his body and had no regrets. Also in 2011, Scarlett Johansson’s nude photos were leaked after they had been hacked from her personal email account. They were intended for her husband at the time, Ryan Reynolds.