Nude celebrity photo hack clouds Apple’s special event on September 9th

“Apple Inc has often displayed uncanny timing, with its well-orchestrated end-of-year iPhone releases,” Christina Farr and Edwin Chan report for Reuters. “But the leak of racy celebrity photos in the past few days put the company in the unusual position of having to mend its image just days before a highly anticipated Sept. 9 product launch.”

“Nude photos of Hollywood celebrities, including Oscar-winning actress Jennifer Lawrence, posted on Internet forums by unknown hackers has sparked condemnation from stars and their publicists, and prompted an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation,” Farr and Chan report. “Apple said on Tuesday the hacks were the result of targeted attacks on accounts and not a direct breach of its systems. The company referred to such attempts as ‘all too common on the Internet.'”

“But the highly public affair remains potentially one of Apple’s worst public crises in years. Speculation continues to spread on blogs about flaws in the iCloud service, which lets computer and mobile users store photos, documents and other data so they can be accessed from a plethora of devices they own,” Farr and Chan report. “In the past three days, 17,000 mentions on Twitter were related to the security breach as of Tuesday afternoon. 7,600 of these tweets specifically mention Apple. Some of the negative words associated with mentions of Apple’s iCloud service include ‘violation,’ ‘disgusting violation,’ ‘criminality,’ ‘failure,’ ‘glitch’ and ‘disappointment.’ …At its upcoming event, Apple is expected to announce the launch of a mobile payments service alongside its iPhone 6.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: As we wrote yesterday:

Bad, bad, bad optics. In fact, it’s tough to imagine worse optics for Apple if they do indeed hope to debut a mobile payment system in a week. Yes, these celebrities should have used two-step verification for Apple ID if they wanted to keep their accounts secure, but there are no two ways about it: Failing to prevent brute-force iCloud password attacks long ago was a tremendous oversight for the world’s most valuable company.

Apple needs to be equated with security and privacy. Today, they are not. Today, in the minds of the general public, Apple is insecure and nothing is private on Apple devices. Right or wrong, it’s doesn’t matter: These days, perception is everything. Once the narrative is out there, it’s very difficult to change (see: Apple Maps). Apple’s rather dysfunctional and often too-slow-to-react PR department has a challenge to rival Antennagate on their plates, one week ahead of the company’s most important events ever. Good luck, Apple!

Public Service Announcement: Use two-step verification for Apple ID to keep your personal information as secure as possible. More info here.

Always use unique passwords, do not reuse passwords for different services, and use Apple’s Keychain Access and iCloud Keychain to create and manage them. When used properly, this system works like a dream.

Related articles:
Apple denies iCloud breach – September 3, 2014
How easy is it to crack into an Apple iCloud account? We tried to find out – September 3, 2014
Celeb nudes: Comprehensive review of forum posts reveals no mention of ‘Find My iPhone’ brute force technique – September 2, 2014
Apple’s iCloud is secure; weak passwords and gullible users are not – September 2, 2014
Apple: No iCloud breach in celebrity nude photos leak – September 2, 2014
FBI, Apple investigating alleged iCloud hack of celebrity nude, sex photos and videos – September 2, 2014
Celebrity or not, Apple isn’t responsible for your nude photos – September 2, 2014
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

61 Comments

  1. You know what’s inherently insecure? Dollar bills. Credit cards are better. Know what’s inherently insecure? Credit cards. Electronic payment with two-stage in-person security is better. Way better. Waaaaaaaay better.

    1. Frankly, this whole thing is a bit of a yawner to me. I have seen a lot of speculation on the event. But I am willing to wait for a while to hear a more reasoned and definitive explanation.

      I do not believe that this is as big a deal as some would make it out to be. The public is used to celebrity scandals, and scandalous photos and video tapes have regularly cropped up over the years. No one seems to be raising a big stink over the Android security issues, so why should Apple be afraid. People love their iPhones.

      Frankly, people who take racy photos or videos of themselves (or allow someone else to take them) are taking a risk. If those images or videos are stored on the internet or on a computer connected to the internet, then the risk grows substantially. I am sorry for the people whose privacy was violated by these hacker idiots, but all we can do is learn from the experience and attempt to improve security going forwards.

  2. Bet money that scared Samscum is behind this hack to cast doubt on Apple’s unbeatable security record, with the main objective of discouraging massive forthcoming fanfare for the new iPhone 6 NFC electronic wallet payment system and it’s strong alliances, by trying to create an “Apple is not secure scare”…

    Like it or not: Apple’s gonna disrupt again !

    1. Interesting timing. It seems there is almost always some negative event in the news just before every big Apple announcement. Stock manipulation by hedge fund folks? Maybe. Samsung? No, I don’t think Samsung is smart enough to think of something like this, unless someone else did it first, I mean…

    2. Yes. The anti-Apple related astroturfing sure has ratcheted up the last couple of days as well. It’s almost like automatic posting machines are writing negative comments. I also think some of the celebrities are involved in the anti-Apple scams. I read an article today that stated many in Hollywood are behind Samsung and their new VR headset. And then there is the unexplained large sell-off in the stock. All of this is embarrassing to Apple. Coincidence? Or a coordinated attack by Sony or HTC? No, I think it is the criminal organization known Samsung Inc.

      1. Hard for most to fathom but I agree. Something is too well timed, too well organized, too coordinated to be some random occurrence. The question I always ask is who benefits the most? And who has shown a lack or regard for ethics and integrity in the past? Hmm…

  3. But the highly public affair remains potentially one of Apple’s worst public crises in years.

    H Y P E R B O L E

    Hyperbole \Hy*per”bo*le\, n. [L., fr. Gr?, prop., an
    overshooting, excess, fr. Gr. ? to throw over or beyond;
    “ype`r over + ? to throw. See Hyper-, Parable, and cf.
    Hyperbola.] (Rhet.)

    A figure of speech in which the expression is an evident
    exaggeration of the meaning intended to be conveyed, or by
    which things are represented as much greater or less, better
    or worse, than they really are; a statement exaggerated
    fancifully, through excitement, or for effect.
    [1913 Webster]

    Nice try Christina Farr and Edwin Chan who click bait for Reuters

    1. They have already written and made up ever rumor possible, so they are running with this as “news”. Next week after the launch, there won’t be any mention of nude celebs, and thus this made up crisis will vanish.

      1. These days, we’re left to wonder why rubbish like this is published. If it was Rob Enderle, it would probably because he generally hates Apple and is a jerk. If it was a Wallnut Street analcyst, it would be to crash the AAPL price so he and his cronies could pick up the stock for cheap. If it was a journalist on summer vacation, it would be for filler. If it was a click bait writer, like we may have in this case, it’s to generate reader numbers to make the bean counters and marketing execs happy.

        In any case, this isn’t professional journalism.

        1. Yeah, maybe it’s sensationalism. However it does speak to the let down I felt long ago from the realization that, as MacDaily editor puts it, Apple is not equated with privacy and security. I suspect that, after Jobs, Apple turned a blind eye for plausible deniability to the planting of back doors into Apple products by the NSA in exchange for lucrative deals with the government. And because the NSA is, of course, hacked by enemy states, this betrayal to consumers by Apple has come back to bite Apple in the keister, as all this hacking by the NSA will eventually come back to bite the NSA as well. What goes around comes around, karma.

          1. GovtPhobia
            Wednesday, September 3, 2014 – 10:23 pm · Reply

            “Apple turned a blind eye for plausible deniability to the planting of back doors into Apple products by the NSA in exchange for lucrative deals with the government.”

            WHERE THE HELL DID YOU GET THAT FROM?

            1. The police can tear into your password-protected idevice if they get their hands on it. I suspect iCloud also has an opening for the police somehow, maybe a vulnerability along a journey point, but I can’t remember what it was. Also, I can’t remember a specific entrance computer. I just remember hearing of these weaknesses after Jobs.

          2. It’s entirely feasible.

            I like to hope I can take Apple at their word that nothing is back-doored, that they don’t cooperate with the, ahem, overenthusiastic government unless legal warrants are provided. I know enough about Apple security to know their software coding is as prone to security holes as anyone else’s. I’ve been pestering them about memory management problems for a few years, that being the overwhelming source of most security holes.

            Meanwhile, OH YES! The NSA opened their forbidden (4th Amendment to the US Constitution) ‘Pandora’s Box’ and what came out can’t be put back. I’m entirely joyful to learn that their traitorous citizen hacking tools are becoming public. That is indeed karma.

            I also like your point that countries hacking the USA, especially China, not only learn about US hacking methods but are also ripping off our hacking tools. Ultra karma.

            1. Thank you for not dismissing my response as baseless paranoia. Extremely reasonable of you and your comments are always a great read. The distrust in every internet service cannot be put back into the box, but hopefully in the future Apple will weigh the loss of consumer confidence against suspicious deals with state entities.

            2. Thank you GovtPhobia. I get into moody and PITA mode if only because of my Scottish genetics. But I try. I also hope Apple sees and implements the benefits of further customer confidence, versus playing games with The Powers That Be. I think it would be a brilliant strategy, despite all the backlash from the same PTB.

          3. Yeah yeah and they never went to the Moon. You don’t have a shred of evidence any of that changed after the death of Steve Jobs. Fact is every organisation has suffered instances of this sort of thing, there’s always a balance between usability and security. Clearly there are lessons to be learnt here.

    1. Not even sure how many even sayw the news. Many people don’t read newspapers or watch the news.

      Ehat is the big deal anyway. If you take a picture of your body in waht ever mode, you do it to share it. So some jerk shared it with the world and blamed it on Apple. Some people share this on FB, others on porn sites. Weiner shared his wiener on twitter.

  4. No matter how hard Tim’s crew tries to claim that iCloud is secure and it wasn’t hacked for the nude photos, almost nobody is buying it. In fact, denials from Cupertino just keep the buzz alive. Solution: STFU – lines are forming in NYC and lemmings don’t care if their photos are stolen as long as they get a bigger screen, more sissified icons, and overhyped tweaks to iOS. For them, using the same password for everything in their lives seems like a good idea because its so easy to remember that way. Move on folks, there’s nothing to see here as we await the show about to unfold amid all the fanfare and the worshipful response to follow.

  5. I wonder if anyone at the SEC is watching, particularly those who shorted APPL in the past 10 days. All these photos did not just “fall out of the cloud”. This is a co-ordinated attack to discredit Apple before the iPhone 6 announcement, and for the shorts to make big money. Coincidence? Who are you kidding.

    1. I agree and this could be the beginning of war as it completely discredits the integrity of Hollywood and the U.S. markets. Did South Korea via Samsung just declear war on the United States?

  6. 17 thousand really isnt that much. 500 million tweets go out per day. Thats 15 mil in three days. The iCloud tweets account for .00113 percent of all tweets. 17 thousand looks big by itself, but its tiny when compared to everything else.

  7. Ok. Who doesn’t know by now that if you don’t want your pictures seen by others DON’T put them on the web. DON’T text them and don’t put them in the Cloud!!!!!! Now, hackers stole your nudie pics. Why were you taking and sharing nudie pics ? Cry Baby Boobies. Wah wah wah!

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