Celebrity or not, Apple isn’t responsible for your nude photos

“What do you do if you’re a celebrity and nude pictures you happened to store in the cloud are suddenly all over the Internet?” Leonid Bershidsky writes for Bloomberg View. “We’ve seen the full spectrum of possible reactions, only one of which makes sense.”

“There’s denial [former Nickelodeon star Victoria Justice]… There’s righteous anger [Death Proof star Mary Elizabeth Winstead],” Bershidsky writes. “Then, of course, there’s the call to your lawyer, who will be outraged on your behalf and threaten to sue everyone caught spreading the pictures, as lawyers for Oscar winner Jennifer Lawrence and model Kate Upton have done. That will prompt the few mainstream media and blogs that have published the stolen pics to take them down, and links to the hacker’s trove disappearing from Reddit, only for new ones to appear within minutes. The Internet never forgets, and there are more onanists than lawyers.”

“The one reasonable reaction I have seen came from Kirsten Dunst, star of Lars von Trier’s Melancholia. ‘Thank you iCloud,’ she tweeted, adding the emoji icons for a slice of pizza and a smiling turd. If you need a translation of the rebus, Dunst’s opinion of Apple’s cloud service is unfavorable,” Bershidsky writes. “iCloud’s terms of service… [read] in plain English, as long as Apple can prove that it took care to prevent unauthorized access — and even despite the Find My iPhone vulnerability, it will always be able to prove it — any hacks are the user’s fault after clicking that ‘Accept’ button.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: As we wrote yesterday:

The problem is that too many people use one password for multiple services. The hackers guess it right once and than have access to all sorts of things: cloud storage, bank accounts, twitter, email, etc.

Regardless of the origination of these photo and videos, social engineering hacks can be thwarted, at least for iCloud. Use two-step verification for Apple ID to keep your personal information as secure as possible. More info here.

As we’ve written before: Always use unique passwords and use Apple’s Keychain Access and iCloud Keychain to create and manage them. When used properly, it works like a dream.

Related articles:
Apple ‘actively investigating’ Jennifer Lawrence, other nude celebrity photos hack – September 1, 2014
Apple’s iCloud not likely the sole source of leaked Jennifer Lawrence, other nude celebrity photos and videos – September 1, 2014


    1. You have to realize that these people are afflicted with crippling narcissism. Celebrity is a narcissistic business. “Look at me!” they scream. This is a product of the Libs’ moronic “no winners, no losers, keep no scores, everybody gets a ribbon, self-esteem is paramount” political correctness disease.

      This is why we have this incapable doofus in the oval office who’s got the biggest raging case of Narcissistic Personality Disorder that even D.C. has ever seen. The affirmative action president who thinks he’s a god. What a joke! 6 years of malaise so far. And golf. Two more long years to go.

      Secretly, these celebs got what they wanted (if they didn’t know the risks of even taking a nude photo they didn’t want seen by the world, they’re stupid) and are happy to be the center of attention and have the riff-raff oogling them. This is what they do for a living. You can see all there is to see of Kirsten Dunst in “Melancholia,” so what does she really care if a few more nude images are out there. They’re redundant.

        1. He’s just telling the truth. And sometimes the truth does hurt.

          Fundamentally there’s nothing new about this. Only the technology and names have changed. Yesterday it was Jayne Mansfield and Marilyn Monroe. Today it’s Jennifer Lawrence and Kate Upton.

        2. Actually, your the pot calling the kettle black. The Narcissist in Chief is not working out for you and has made you miserable. Now you are taking it out on those who tell the truth. Misplaced aggression is something you can correct. Now, go paint a portrait of your pain and FREE yourself.

      1. “biggest raging case of Narcissistic Personality Disorder that even D.C. has ever seen”

        I take it then that you’ve never heard of Theodore or Franklin Roosevelt.


      2. Amazing how you turned nude photos into a political rant. This has nothing to do with politics, and neither does people’s desire to be famous. Conservatives, liberals, and tons of people in between want to be rock stars, actors, authors, athletes, and any other type of celebrity they can think of, and not just for the financial rewards. Some want it because that means they have made it to the top of their chosen profession; others want it because that means lots of money; and some just want to be famous because they want people to love them for being famous.

        No politics, just human nature.

        1. It’s interesting that the few political ranters on this site are all right-wing… turning amazingly peripheral matters into an excuse to froth at the mouth about liberals and Obama.

          Yes, yes, some liberal types respond to the ranters. But that is “respond”. I doubt they’d ever say anything if the annoying right wing blathering were missing. And I’ve never seen any of that type of irrelevant outburst from the liberals.

          So what does this mean? I don’t know, but I’m sure it’s an indication of something interesting.

          1. What bothers me is you are all painted with the same brush. Lib or Con. Doesn’t anyone realize that there is a political GRADIENT????
            Four political parties should be the norm where the traditional liberals and conservatives hover around just slightly left or right of center. It is is where the bulk of Canadians are and presumably Americans too. What you call the Socialist and right wing nutbars (like First 2014) are the ranting outliers (or is that outed liars). Not all liberals have the “moronic ‘no winners, no losers, keep no scores, everybody gets a ribbon, self-esteem is paramount’ political correctness disease.” Some of us have relatively conservative values of good government, fair taxes, and if a student fails…well he/she damn well fails!
            In other words stop your immature generalizing.

          2. NEVER (absolute statement) seen outbursts from liberals, particularly on this site?

            Wow. Talk about a lapse in critical thinking and reading comprehension. You’re off the charts.

            1. I said and specifically mean “never”. As I SAID, some people respond to talking point tape-recorders like First and can do so with intensity.

              But I cannot recall any liberal/leftie/progressive types taking an announcement about some piece of tech or hacking or rumor about the iPhone, and INITIATING some raving piece of irrelevant blather specifically against right-wing or Republican politicians.

            2. Watch – my – lips…. “I cannot recall any liberal/leftie/progressive types taking an announcement about some piece of tech or hacking or rumor about the iPhone, and INITIATING some raving piece of irrelevant blather specifically against right-wing or Republican politicians.”

              Three specific elements:
              – tech news
              – INITIATE raving, irrelevant political rant
              – against right-wing and Republican politicians

              You may find you are getting confused about a few people who rant against the US. That’s not pro-Democrat. Those ones rant about everyone.

    2. In Asian countries, nude selfies are extremely common even among teenagers. The term “camwhoring” and related sites are very popular. They don’t seem to have the hang-ups about showing themselves off in intimate situations as many Westerners do. It’s unfortunate that Apple’s cloud services are under news media scrutiny but I would think this whole tawdry event will be forgotten rather quickly. I would think credit card hacking would be far more damaging than nude personal photos. However, because Apple is involved the news media is going to regurgitate it repeatedly.

      1. “I would think credit card hacking would be far more damaging than nude personal photos.”

        Or nude personal photos being hacked from the cloud, Apple or others, can be far more damaging to the supposed rumor of Apple’s release of iWallet and deals it made with VISA, MC and AMEX? Either way, the optics don’t look good for Apple a week before their rumored iWallet announcement.

    3. The images were NOT shared. They were taken either by an Apple device, or imported into an Apple device. The major selling point of Apple’s eco-system is the iCloud and its PhotoStream feature. You take a photo on any of your devices, and thanks to the iCloud, the picture is automatically copied to ALL of your devices. This is a godsend to most Apple users, as it eliminates one of the most common chores — managing your photos between your devices (iPhone, iMac, MBA/MBP, iPad…).

      You don’t have to be a “narcissistic” personality to have compromising images of yourself (and the only way you won’t have any is if you never ever got drunk). If you use Apple devices in the way they are meant to be used, you’ll have compromising images of you in the cloud. What happens to them depends entirely on you: if you made a very modest effort to protect them (complex password, two-step authentication), then you’re the only one that can get to them. But if the key to your iCloud house is hidden under the door mat, you can’t blame Apple for letting others in with your keys…

      1. I guess people don’t know what a “click” button is!

        I have iCloud and I have tons of photo’s on my Mac. I have certain albums on the Mac that share with my iPhone, but most Albums do NOT. I simply clicked which ones to share! NONE of these are accessible on the iCloud site.

        It is a matter of choosing where to share them, and where not to store them, IMO!

        1. That’s different. The way PhotoStream is set up by default (and the way most people use it, as it is the most practical way) is that whenever you take a picture on an iDevice, or import a picture into an Apple device, that picture is automatically added to the PhotoStream (called My Photo Stream) and via that PhotoStream, copied to all other Apple devices. About the only exception is when the picture is taken on an iPhone; it won’t get uploaded until the next time iPhone connects to a WiFi network. After 30 days, that picture will expire from the “My Photo Stream”, but it will remain on all devices (unless you delete it). This doesn’t require user to create any special albums, shared or not, nor any special PhotoStreams. It just works out of the box. You (the user) are NOT sharing anything with anyone in this scenario; it is all on your private devices (Macs, iPads, iPhones), and on your PRIVATE iCloud PhotoStream. If you want to share any of those photos with anyone else, you create a shared PhotoStream and designate how you want to share it.

          I must say, though, I’m not sure what a “click” button is…

          1. “Click” button:
            iPhone>settings>iCloud> a multitude of buttons to choose from for setting your choices, including “Photo Stream” and Photo Sharing.

            SAME setup on the Mac and in iTunes for the iPhone and photos!

            OK, maybe I should have written “tap” or “slide” or “On-Off” button. But that would have looked dumb to type in “tap/slide/on-off/click”. Sheesh, are people this dumb to not know or understand or in half a second figure that out?

            1. “Click” button… aren’t we dense here.

              The point is precisely the “click” button — in order to use PhotoStream and iCloud, you don’t need to dig into settings and swipe/tap any “click” button — it works out of the box the way users expect it to work, and it is as private and secure as you chose it to be (i.e. dependent on the complexity of your password and if you enabled two-step process). Again, by default, NOTHING is shared with anyone; in order to share, you have to enable it (by using your “click” button).

              Apple is obviously not responsible.

        2. “I guess people don’t know what a “click” button is!”

          That’s about right. I have often been dumfounded when sitting with clients, how they barely know anything at all about using their computer. They can barely turn it on.

        3. Agree completely.

          I manage my photos differently on different devices and prefer to keep them private.

          Therefore, rendering Photostream and iCloud irrelevant for my needs.

          Both approaches work great, it is simply a matter of choice.

      1. Paranoid much? The security of ALL cloud services is questionable and now once again being exposed as such. Simple brute password hacking can, if you use online services as they are set up by default and how they are advertised, allow access to everything you have synced or shared from your iOS or Android device. This is not news, it’s just now being picked up because the media needed a juicy titillating headline, and celebs are the easy go-to reason for a nice top-selling scandal.

        Amazon and MS have just as much to lose, if not more, than Apple. The conspiracy theory isn’t even logical. All of them are scrambling their PR messages now to reassure users that their data is safe — even though the fine print of the user agreement explicitly declares that your data stored online is NOT.

        1. You underestimate Samsung. They are known for being one of the most corrupt companies in Korea. Were they behind it? Probably not, but it wouldn’t shock me in the least if it turned out they were.

          At the very least they are celebrating this.

    1. They never shared anything. They took pictures with their iPhones (which are presumed private). The PhotoStream feature of iCloud automatically puts pictures to all of your Apple devices, and keeps a copy of the last 30 days’ worth on the iCloud. Somebody stole their password and logged into the iCloud and retrieved the pictures form there.

    2. Sure thing Larry. Please tell me how to use the USB stick with an iPhone. Apple made the process very hard and instead is advertising iCloud as the easy way to move files around. The fact that iCloud is relatively easily hacked isn’t news, but this recent event is a reminder that too many people have willfully chosen to ignore. If anyone has your iCloud password, they have everything on your iPhone. Apple definitely needs to step up security because this isn’t the last we’ll hear about “cloud” hacking and data theft.

  1. “Security” with usernames and passwords is the problem. We’re keeping this whole username and password together with the tech equivalent of duct tape and bailing wire. Password generators, password managers that you need a username and password to keep track of you usernames and passwords. Does *anyone* not see the insanity we’re living in.
    I truly hope TouchID Apple’s step 1 in a Master Plan of replacing this antiquated system.

  2. @rickygervais – “Celebrities, make it harder for hackers to get nude pics of you from your computer by not putting nude pics of yourself on your computer”

    Of course there was angry feminist follow ups – “Let’s just ask women celebs to stop using computers entirely & also to weld their clothes to their skin.”

    1. Celebrities are exhibitionists, be they male or female.

      Naked pictures are a means to an end. If they weren’t seen before, they have been seen now.

      The older they are the less the clothing until plastic surgery is the only answer to their problems.

  3. I’m sorry but this article misses the point and so does MDN’s take. These aren’t photo’s that were ‘leaked’ these are personal information and personal items that were stolen. Regaurdless of whether they were stupid nude photos or credit card information. Yes we know taking nude photos on a device that syncs to the cloud is dumb but then you have to also ask the question if something like a photo that you don’t want shared with others is dumb to store on a device to back up to the cloud, then wouldn’t it be equally if not more so stupid to store credit card information (iCloud keychain) in the cloud as well?

    The point both this article misses and MDN misses is the fact that it doesn’t matter what data was stolen… The fact of the matter is, this hacker used a password scanning scheme to which iCloud was left unprotected from and got into these peoples iCloud account. Know what else is stored there? Credit card and other information you don’t want shared out. If the person leaked credit card information that they got then people wouldn’t have been blaming the victims of this theft… but somehow since it’s nude photo’s it’s the victims fault?

    Look I get it, yes taking nude photos of yourself is just stupid and stupid can be. Let’s not join in the stupidity but letting that distract us from the reality that this hacker used a password scamming tool and bombarded iCloud to gain access to someones iCloud account. iCloud didn’t have any mechanism in place to protect to such an attack and might I add common attack… something as simple as locking out after X amount of attempts and requiring another strong form verification would have sufficed, but no iCloud had no such mechanism in place.

    The truth is iCloud, the service we are suppose to trust, was fooled and data was taken. Regardless of what form that data was in, it doesn’t escape the reality and the severity of the situation. Well… unless you’re a moron and easily distracted when someone says something about nudy pics.

    1. MDN’s take actually doesn’t miss the point totally. Yes these folks should have had better passwords for their stuff, but iCloud also should be set up to prevent hacks that are as simple and as common as password scanning.

      1. And therein lies the problem: People don’t want to remember 18 character random passwords, then have to type them in to each app they want to use like their bank app. This makes it very difficult to quickly access information, so they demand the ability to use a somewhat simple password, and they use it multiple places.

        If Apple or any other service requires massively difficult passwords, people will scream and yell and demand something simpler, or they’ll just turn it off. Using a password generator Apple’s in a Catch-22.

        And on top of that, add in that everyone has suffered some type of data loss, so we don’t really trust these apps to never lose our passwords.

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