On Sunday a cache of photos containing nude celebrities were posted online. Several users on 4chan, trying to coax other users into paying bitcoin or donating to PayPal, posted them claiming that they were obtained from the celebrities’ iCloud accounts. After the pictures were posted onto 4chan, they made their way onto the subReddit r/TheFappening, a subpage of the message board Reddit.
Over 100 celebrities were affected, including Jennifer Lawrence, Kate Upton, and Victoria Justice. Some celebrities have confirmed the authenticity of the photos, while others deny it.
Since the leak, Apple has made a statement denying any major breach to iCloud or Find My iPhone app (another app that has been mentioned in connecting with “Celebgate”). Apple says, rather, that “celebrity accounts were compromised by a very targeted attack on user names, passwords and security questions, a practice that has become all too common on the Internet.”
Those responsible are thought to have used a simple “brute force” attack on these celebrities’ accounts, where every single combination of characters are tested, one character at a time. Because it is believed that more than one person is responsible, it is likely that multiple computers were used to expedite the process. Apple says further, “To protect against this type of attack, we advise all users to always use a strong password and enable two-step verification.”
The FBI is currently looking to find those responsible, not only for violating the privacy of celebrities, but for also posting child pornography. Lawyers of McKayla Maroney state that some leaked pictures of the gymnast were taken before she was 18.
Since then, many users of TheFappening have tried to atone for their actions and have decided to donate to a “relevant charity.” It wasn’t long before TheFappening was the highest donor to the Prostate Cancer Foundation’s list. The Foundation replied, “Out of respect for everyone involved and in keeping with our own standards, we are returning all donations that resulted from this post.”
In response to PCF’s refund one user said, “Ok guys, we’re now officially worse than cancer.”