Apple says its systems not to blame for celebrity photo breach

Wed Sep 3, 2014 2:59pm EDT
 
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By Edwin Chan and Christina Farr

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - (This story corrects reputation.com CEO's last name to Fertik, instead of Fertike, on second reference, 15th paragraph)

The week before a crucial launch of its new iPhone, Apple Inc said intimate photos of celebrities including Oscar-winner Jennifer Lawrence were leaked online through the apparent hacking of individual iCloud accounts.

Apple rushed to restore confidence in its systems' security, saying the celebrity photo scandal that also ensnared swimsuit model Kate Upton, actress Kirsten Dunst and possibly dozens more was the result of targeted attacks on accounts storing personal data and not a direct breach of Apple systems.

"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," Apple said in a statement.

"None of the cases we have investigated has resulted from any breach in any of Apple's systems including iCloud or Find My iPhone."

The celebrity hacking that came to light over the long Labor Day weekend nevertheless ranks among the highest-profile public fiascos for Apple in recent years.

Apple's iCloud service allows users to store photos and other content and access it from any Apple device. Security in the cloud has been a paramount concern in past years, but that has not stopped the rapid adoption of services that offer reams of storage and management of data and content off smartphones and computers.

Regardless of how the leaking of nude celebrity photos actually happened, the timing could not have been worse for Apple as it prepares to launch a new iPhone next week.   Continued...

 
Jennifer Lawrence, best supporting actress nominee for her role in "American Hustle," arrives at the 86th Academy Awards in Hollywood, California March 2, 2014.    REUTERS/Lucas Jackson