Apple Investigating Reports of iCloud Vulnerabilities: Probe Comes After Celebrities’ Accounts Were Hacked, Nude Photos Published

From the Wall Street Journal‘s Daisuke Wakabayashi

Initial media reports suggested that the hacks stemmed from individual accounts on iCloud, an online service to store photos, music and other data from Apple devices.

“We take user privacy very seriously and are actively investigating this report,” Apple spokeswoman Nat Kerris said in a statement.

A posting on online code-sharing site GitHub said a user had discovered a bug in Apple’s Find My iPhone service, which tracks the location of a missing phone and allows a user to disable the phone remotely if it is stolen. The bug allowed a hacker to keep trying passwords until identifying the right one.

Most online services lock down an account after multiple incorrect password attempts to prevent this type of so-called “brute force” attacks.

Apple is looking into reports that iCloud vulnerabilities were exploited to hack into accounts. Associated Press

The GitHub post was updated on Monday to read: “The end of fun, Apple have just patched.”

Rich Mogull, chief executive of security research and advisory firm Securosis, said it is plausible that hackers exploited that vulnerability. “We don’t know for sure, but it’s very possible that those are related,” he said.

He also said it seems more likely that the hackers broke in through the individual accounts of the celebrities versus breaking Apple’s system. “I would be shocked Apple itself was hacked,” said Mr. Mogull.

Actress Jennifer Lawrence and model Kate Upton were identified as possible victims. Another actress, Mary E. Winstead, said on Twitter that the hackers grabbed photos she took with her husband last year in their home and that she had since deleted. “I can only imagine the creepy effort that went into this,” she wrote on her verified Twitter account. Actress and singer Victoria Justice said from her Twitter account that the supposed nude photos of her were fake.

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