Apple has denied that faults in its systems were responsible for what may be the largest celebrity privacy breach in history.
The company has been fighting off critics since Sunday when images of more than 100 well-known actors and singers, including Rihanna and Jennifer Lawrence, were posted on the 4chan website.
The breach was initially linked to Apple’s cloud storage service iCloud and its Find My iPhone application.
In a statement the company said it was “outraged” by the news and “immediately mobilized Apple’s engineers to discover the source”.
“After more than 40 hours of investigation, we have discovered that certain 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. None of the cases we have investigated has resulted from any breach in any of Apple’s systems including iCloud or Find my iPhone. We are continuing to work with law enforcement to help identify the criminals involved,” saidApple.
The breach has become a PR nightmare for Apple. Shortly after the hack was made public actress Kirsten Dunst Tweeted: “Thank you iCloud” followed by the emoji for pizza and a pile of shit.
It comes as Apple prepares to unveil its latest iPhone and, possibly, a new smart watch on 9 September. That launch, the largest yet under CEO Tim Cook, has now been overshadowed by the celebrity privacy breach.
There had been speculation that a “brute force” attack had been used to crack passwords on celebrity accounts. Brute force attacks bombard servers with possible password combinations until it cracks.
Security experts had speculated that the hackers may have used such attacks on Apple’s Find My iPhone service to crack the accounts without alerting their owners.
The FBI said it is investigating the breach. “The FBI is aware of the allegations concerning computer intrusions and the unlawful release of material involving high profile individuals and is addressing the matter,” said a statement from the Los Angeles FBI. “Any further comment would be inappropriate at this time.”
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