After more then 40 hours of investigation, Apple said that its iCloud service wasn’t breached by hackers who posted nude pictures of celebrities, the incident was a “very targeted attack on user names, passwords and security questions” in which some celebrity accounts were “compromised.”
Photos from the celebrities were stolen individually, the company said. The attack has targeted almost a hundred female celebrities, including Jennifer Lawrence, Kate Upton, Avril Livigne, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Mary Kate Olsen, Hillary Duff, Selena Gomez, Kaley Cuoco, Kirsten Dunst, Rihanna and many more.
Although it is unclear how many hackers were involved in this leak, but it appears that they had been building the database over quite some time now, as some of the pictures that the celebrities claimed to have deleted are in circulation too.
Here’s a full statement by the company:
We wanted to provide an update to our investigation into the theft of photos of certain celebrities. When we learned of the theft, we were outraged and immediately mobilized Apple’s engineers to discover the source. Our customers’ privacy and security are of utmost importance to us. 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.
To protect against this type of attack, we advise all users to always use a strong password and enable two-step verification. Both of these are addressed on our website at http://support.apple.com/kb/ht4232.