Pictures getting leaked nude of famous celebrities in compromising positions are nothing new, but hardly can anything compare to the phenomena that happened in 2014 called “the fappening.” In case you didn’t know of this Internet phenomenon, the term “the fappening nude pictures” was used to describe a hacker’s invasion of countless iCloud accounts of celebrities and leaking their nude photos online.
Celebrities Cloud Storage Hacked and Nude Photos Stolen Security Breach
This not only caused embarrassment to the celebrities but caused such a stir around the world that even the law enforcement agencies were forced to take notice. This event not only painted a grim view of the security and reliability of cloud storage but also sparked debates as to why celebrities kept their nudes on their device in the first place.
Who were the affected celebrities?
Over 100 celebrity women were affected by this incident as their private pictures were supposedly stolen by a hacker and uploaded online for the world to see. The list of celebrities includes A-listers as well as some lesser known names that you may not recognize.
Even the Oscar-winning actress, Jennifer Lawrence was not spared as the hacker released close to a couple of dozen images of the actress posing nude or having sex with her boyfriend.
The victims got to know about this incident through the media when various news agencies and Internet forums started going abuzz with the news. Lawrence, along with model – actress Kate Upton and Mary Elizabeth Winstead confirmed that the images and movie scenes were indeed theirs.
Several others like Victoria Justice, Ariana Grande, and gymnast McKayla Maroney denied that the nude celebrity photos leaked were of themselves and said that they are false images made using Photoshop. Some others accounts that were hacked include that of Avril Lavigne, Kim Kardashian, Mary Kate Olsen, Selena Gomez, Jenny McCarthy, Hilary Duff, Hayden Pantierre, Hope Solo, and others.
How did the pictures get hacked?
According to reports, the hacker apparently exploited a security flaw in Apple’s iCloud service. While many online services lock down phones after several unsuccessful tries to log in, Apple reportedly did not have this feature on their “find my iPhone” app and the iCloud. This allowed the hacker to make unlimited guesses of passwords with a computer program and eventually access all their nudes taken in private on their accounts.
While the company has taken corrective steps following the aftermath of the naked celeb leaks, the damage has been already done. Known as a “brute force” attack, this sort of hacking attempt isn’t anything new in the circuit.
Another thing that may have helped the hacker is the fact that all of the biographical information of celebrities is readily available on IMDb, Wikipedia, and other websites. This may have helped the perpetrators to guess the account password using a combination of words and date of birth numbers that many people are fond of using as a security measure code.
Apple, however, made a statement that the company’s systems that store all of their user data were not hacked. Only certain celebrity accounts were targeted and eventually compromised through various malicious activities. While this does not absolve Apple of the security flaws, it certainly does help put things in perspective.
How to prevent photos from getting leaked
Celebrity or not, it’s important that you take the necessary precautions now to ensure that your private photos are never compromised. You should be especially careful if you’re a celebrity or related to a celebrity because that puts you directly on the radar of malicious hackers so they can get their nude pictures if they got any stored on their device or cloud. Sure, the iCloud security flaw might have been fixed for now, but that means there will be no workarounds in the future.
To protect sensitive data and naked images that are stored on the cloud go through the following steps:
Choose hard passwords: Never put in passwords that are easy to guess and are related to the name of your pet, friend, family member, etc. always go for long but easy to recall phrases that include a combination of letters, numbers, and special symbols.
Have different password variants for email accounts, apps, bank accounts, etc. so that one compromise does not lead to the jeopardy of your entire online security.
Choose better authentication mode: Many services, including Apple’s iCloud, offer advanced authentication methods for better security. This allows you to enter a permanent password, and then choose a secondary password that is temporary and is intended to be used if by any chance you forget the first password.
This password may also be a randomly generated number or phrase that is sent via text message to be used later.
Never leave your cell phone unattended: Believe it or not, many times the culprits who are responsible for breaching someone is a security happened to be their friend or family. As shocking as it may sound, people have reported that their sensitive data or information and nude pics was stolen by those who are close to them inlcuding little brothers stealing their big sisters cell and sharing their nude photos online with friends and the entire world.
Also, have a backup plan to destroy sensitive pictures and other data in case your phone gets stolen.
Backup to a physical drive: Well this sounds like a no-brainer, but no form of cloud storage is completely safe no matter how much the company advertises it to be. If you have sensitive images are data that might be prone to hacking or theft, it’s always better to shift the data to a physical drive from your phone’s memory. It’s better to be safe than sorry.
Are hacks likely happen in the future?
Of course! As long as we do not shift towards a completely foolproof cloud storage platform, there is always a chance of data theft and image leaks online. Even though cloud technology is fast progressing, it should be still quite a while till we can see an entirely reliable and secure data-storing platform. But things are certainly towards the positive side over time.
Even now hackers are being sentenced to prison time for leaking sensitive data and private nude pictures online which of course we really sorry to see these talented computer people get in trouble, perhaps they get high paying jobs a few months later and get released. FBI is also dedicated to investigating and prosecuting those who have been accused of malicious virtual behavior and is tackling the matter in a very strict way. It’s hard to tell if there will ever be a day when the idea of hacking would cease to exist; till then it’s your responsibility to stay safe.