News of a massive celebrity hack is spreading quickly today, but it might not be what you think it is - that is to say that Apple’s iCloud service probably wasn’t hacked on a massive and major scale. Instead, it’s a lot more likely that something a lot less glamorous is to blame - here’s a closer look at the security breach, and what really happened.
The Old Email Trick
Celebrities woke up to photos of themselves spread all across the Internet. Some of those photos were nudes, and all of them were private. Since all of the celebrity photos came from Apple’s iCloud service, the immediate assumption was that iCloud had been hacked, but even the hacker (anonymous still) isn’t claiming that kind of break in.
Apple has a dedicated security team that’s full of employed hackers. Those people are paid to hack into the system over and over again to look for possible flaw. As such, a hack on such a massive scale is largely unlikely. What’s more likely is that the person responsible for the hack simply broke into celebrity email accounts using phishing tactics, or simply trying out multiple combinations in order to ascertain a password, and, thus, photos.
Some celebrity management teams are claiming that the photos aren’t real, while others are simply stating that the photos were long ago deleted. Apple is currently investigating this hack, since the photos were taken from Apple’s iCloud service (the cloud storage service that is used in conjunction with Apple accounts). So far, the company hasn’t come up with any kind of breach, and cannot determine how the hack happened - it does seem pretty clear, though, that Apple’s iCloud was not attacked and hacked on a wide scale.
How could photos that were supposedly deleted resurface in this way? Apple has explained that its iCloud can store images for years, even though those same photos might have been deleted a long time ago. Some people are also speculating that the person responsible might have set up celebrity accounts, and, thus, had access to all of the information contained within those accounts (including photos).
Other People Too
Even though the celebrities impacted by this recent hack are not the only ones that have been attacked via iCloud in the past, because this particular hack did impact celebrities, the hack was widely spread. Apple still claims that the company’s iCloud is secure, and that the hack was not through the iCloud system.
It’s unclear how the hacker obtained the photos or passwords, but some security analysts have stated that these people simply wait and collect things like photos and passwords, simply to let the news slip at a later time, as was the case today. Apple has told the public that the hack did not impact all iCloud users, so you should be safe unless you’re on the celebrity list. If your account has been hacked, make sure to contact Apple right away. Most of the images that were stolen have since been erased from the Internet as well.