recommended reading

Apple Launches Investigation Into Celebrity iCloud Hack

Twentieth Century Fox/AP

This weekend, a number of celebrities had their privacy invaded when a hacker obtained personal photographs from various digital devices, and began spreading them across the Internet. Among those affected were Ariana Grande, Aubrey Plaza, Bar Rafaeli, Jennifer Lawrence, Kaley Cuoco, Kate Upton, Kirsten Dunst, Victoria Justice, and many more. While some of the photographs were perfectly innocent, though still private moments, many of the images were nude or were otherwise sexually explicit. The photographs were posted onto 4Chan and then Reddit, and began circulating from there.

It looks like an iCloud hack is to blame for many of these leaked photographs. Jennifer Lawrence's photographs, which were perhaps the most widely circulated from the batch, were all stolen from an iCloud account. Lawrence's spokesperson told the press, "This is a flagrant violation of privacy. The authorities have been contacted and will prosecute anyone who posts the stolen photos of Jennifer Lawrence." 

Now, Apple is scrambling to do damage control. Apple told Re/code, "We take user privacy very seriously and are actively investigating this report." Github and CNet point to the "Find My iPhone" feature as the key culprit in this hack. This feature "could allow a brute force attack in which multiple, rapid-fire attempts are made to correctly guess an account's password," explains CNet. Apple allows an unlimited number of password attempts

While it is possible the hack was made possible by an Apple loophole, security experts believe that this could have been easily prevented with two-step verification, in which the user can only sign in with a password and a verification code sent to their phone, email, or a secondary device. With this security feature turned on, a hacker would need access to the secondary verification system, in addition to the password, to break into the iCloud camera roll.

If you aren't already using it, now is a great time to turn on two-step verification for all your Apple devices.

Threatwatch Alert

Network intrusion / Spear-phishing

Researchers: Bank-Targeting Malware Sales Rise in Dark Web Markets

See threatwatch report


Close [ x ] More from Nextgov

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Data-Centric Security vs. Database-Level Security

    Database-level encryption had its origins in the 1990s and early 2000s in response to very basic risks which largely revolved around the theft of servers, backup tapes and other physical-layer assets. As noted in Verizon’s 2014, Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR)1, threats today are far more advanced and dangerous.

  • Featured Content from RSA Conference: Dissed by NIST

    Learn more about the latest draft of the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology guidance document on authentication and lifecycle management.

  • PIV- I And Multifactor Authentication: The Best Defense for Federal Government Contractors

    This white paper explores NIST SP 800-171 and why compliance is critical to federal government contractors, especially those that work with the Department of Defense, as well as how leveraging PIV-I credentialing with multifactor authentication can be used as a defense against cyberattacks

  • Toward A More Innovative Government

    This research study aims to understand how state and local leaders regard their agency’s innovation efforts and what they are doing to overcome the challenges they face in successfully implementing these efforts.

  • From Volume to Value: UK’s NHS Digital Provides U.S. Healthcare Agencies A Roadmap For Value-Based Payment Models

    The U.S. healthcare industry is rapidly moving away from traditional fee-for-service models and towards value-based purchasing that reimburses physicians for quality of care in place of frequency of care.

  • GBC Flash Poll: Is Your Agency Safe?

    Federal leaders weigh in on the state of information security


When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.