The FBI and Apple are conducting inquiries into security breaches that led to the Internet leak of a collection of intimate celebrity selfies, while an individual claiming a role in the hack takes flight to avoid the fallout on the ground.
The celebrity nudes were said to have been lifted from iCloud accounts after one or more hacker exploited a since-patched vulnerability in the cloud storage platform's Find My Phone service. The exploit prevented Find My Phone from locking after several failed attempts to input username and password pairs, leaving the phone-locator service vulnerable to automated attempts to forcibly gain access into the targeted accounts.
Since then Apple has publicly stated that the hack did not occur due to a vulnerability with its iCloud, though some of the released files had been housed in iCloud, and that the data breach appears to have been directed at specific individuals.
The FBI has confirmed that its investigating the security breaches, though it offered no details on the extent of its probe.
"The FBI is aware of the allegations concerning computer intrusions and the unlawful release of material involving high-profile individuals, and is addressing the matter. ... Any further comment would be inappropriate at this time," says the FBI.
At least one individual has come forward to claim responsibility for the security breaches, though the hacker claims others were involved. The hacker also alleges the group used multiple accounts to receive bitcoin (btc) for releasing the images, disputing theories that suggested a rogue had emerged with a separate account to seek a payday.
"Guys, just to let you know I didn't do this by myself," the hacker states. "There are several other people who were in on it and I needed to count on to make this happened (sic). This is the result of several months of long and hard work by all involved. We appreciate your donations and applaud your excitement. I will soon be moving to another location from which I will continue to post. BTC donations there are two we have been using. One [is] on Here and another forum."
While some celebrities have asserted at least some of the leaked images were spoofs, actress Mary E. Winstead says the images depicting her are authentic.
"Knowing those photos were deleted long ago, I can only imagine the creepy effort that went into this. Feeling for everyone who got hacked," states Winstead.
As Apple continues its efforts to tighten security and privacy within its ecosystem, the tech firm had to offer reassurance to the public after some of its most high-profile customers fell prey to the Labor Day weekend hacks.
"We take user privacy very seriously and are actively investigating this report," Apple spokeswoman Natalie Kerris stated.