US Magazine and People are no longer the only sources revealing intimate details about the private lives of celebrities. Over the holiday weekend, hundreds of nude celebrity photos were made available to a few million more than their intended audience. Among the stars hacked were Kate Upton, Kirsten Dunst, and most notably, Jennifer Lawrence.

The salacious pictures were initially posted on 4chan and Reddit, two very popular—and anonymous—online messaging boards. Many celebrities took to social media to decry the invasion of their peers’ privacy, encouraging others not to view or share the stolen photos. Meanwhile, the host forums have sat idly by, adhering to their policies of allowing content to remain until users petition for removal. Reddit specifically did not respond when contacted for comment about its recent postings.

If, as the FBI concedes, posting these photos constituted an “unlawful release,” then why are they still available for the entire world to gawk at online? Is it true that we have “collectively ceded our privacy” by storing material on the enigmatic Cloud? Or is it simply that the only offenders who can be punished are the ones who committed the tampering itself? It is certain that the future holds some serious time behind bars for these hackers once they are discovered – the man who hacked Scarlett Johansson’s email and released nude photos of her was sentenced to ten years in 2012.

Equally as certain is that Jennifer Lawrence is not the only public figure distressed by the recent virtual assault of her privacy. Apple’s security systems are currently under scrutiny as speculation circulates that the photos were procured by breaching the company’s Find My iPhone application. In response to these reports, Apple stated on Tuesday that none of the photos were obtained by a breach in any of its systems and concluded that the invasion was a result of a targeted attack on the victim’s user names, passwords and security questions.

Regardless, the timing could not be worse for the tech giant as Apple is poised to release the iPhone 6 and, in keeping with tradition, an accompanying innovation on September 9th. The new update is allegedly a mobile payment application, use of which will necessarily require a high degree of confidence in Apple’s security. Reports predict that consumers hankering for the newest edition will still be flocking to Apple stores in droves.

–Ryan Dewey

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2 Responses to A Break in the Cloud: Recent Breach of Celebrity Privacy Stirs Up a Security Storm

  1. Samara Shepherd says:

    With increased use of cloud storage technologies, it will be interesting to see how security breaches will change the legal and technological landscapes. The dangers of remote storage servers have been parodied in the movie Sex Tape. More recently, Apple’s use of the cloud to automatically download U2’s latest album to all Apple users hit a little too close to home. It is disquieting to think that even with secure, challenging passwords there may be backdoors through which hackers can breach your privacy and put your life on public display.

  2. Danielle Drago says:

    This breach on celebrity’s privacy is troubling. However, I believe that the general public should not have too much to worry about regarding these hacks. Celebrities emails are highly prized commodities and they could be using weak passwords (and publicly available answers to security questions). The popularity of the IPhone 6 will provide a barometer to measure the general public’s faith in Apple.

    However, I am worried about the greater implications of this breach. When something is shared on the internet it may be shared and captured in an instant- the inability to rid the internet of these photos regardless of their unlawful nature is unfortunate. I hope in learning from these events, that everyone will safely guard their passwords and choose challenging security questions.

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