Celebrity watchers, as well as security experts, were baffled over the weekend as a second large tranche of intimate/nude celebrity pictures flooded onto various internet sites. Once again, the unnamed hackers behind the flood claim that the pictures - and videos - were the result of iCloud leaks.Amongst the victims of this second leak are reality television star Kim Kardashian, actor Vanessa Hudgens and US national women's soccer team goalkeeper Hope Solo. Other potential victims reportedly include Mary-Kate Olsen, Avril Lavigne, Hayden Panettiere, Lake Bell, Leelee Sobieski and former Disney stars Aly and AJ Michalka.
SCMagazineUK.com understands that the intimate images and videos appeared Saturday morning (US Time) on the 4Can image-sharing site, as well as on Reddit, but were deleted in matter of hours by the site admins under their new copyright infringement policy. Even so, the files also started appearing on BitTorrent and Usenet fileshares over the weekend.
Apple and the FBI are both investigating this latest incident. The Hackernews newswire quotes Apple's CEO, Tim Cook, as saying that the celebrities' iCloud accounts were compromised, either using phishing attacks or with hackers guessing their security questions.
Apple has been phasing in two-factor authentication (2FA) over the last week on iCloud, in parallel with the launch of iOS 8.0, so it seems this latest tranche of intimate photos and videos pre-date the use of 2FA.Mike Ellis, CEO and digital identity expert at ForgeRock, said that this issue has relevance to corporates, and not just the celebrities who have been embarrassed.
"Big businesses as well as large, trusted government organisations need to manage vast and growing numbers of employee and customer digital identities. As we enter the digital transformational era this kind of crisis is only going to get worse," he said.
"Global brands and large organisations that fail to take the right steps to address the growing complexity of identity relationship management risk not just a big dent in their reputation and trust, as iCloud is surely likely to face, but serious commercial or social consequences too as customers switch to more trusted brands or switch off entirely altogether. This example is just the tip of the iceberg and must be addressed sooner, rather than later," he added.