Earlier today, a massive security breach of celebrity photos on Apple's iCloud service was detected. An anonymous user on the website 4chan began posting photos that appeared to be of celebrities in various stages of undress, soliciting Bitcoin donations during the stunt. The photos quickly spread to sites like Reddit and Imgur, where many can still be found by doing a simple search.
The question everyone is trying to answer now is, are the photos real? Based on the initial backlash, it certainly seems like at least some of the pictures are the genuine article.
Among the celebrities alleged to have had their photos leak include big names like Kate Upton, pop sensation Ariana Grande, Kirsten Dunst, Hope Solo, Avril Lavigne, Krysten Ritter, Kayley Cuoco, and Aubrey Plaza. None, however, are generating the same buzz as nude photos of Oscar winning actress Jennifer Lawrence.
The "Hunger Games" star is fighting back. Lawrence's representation says that the actress is contacting police and confirms that the photos are real, stating: "This is a flagrant violation of privacy. The authorities have been contacted and will prosecute anyone who posts the stolen photos of Jennifer Lawrence.”
A representative for Ariana Grande contacted BuzzFeed, saying that the photos of her are "completely fake."
Actress Mary Elizabeth Winstead, who has appeared in several films recently, and who was one of the stars of the short-lived series "Wolf Lake" in 2002, responded to leaked nude photos on Twitter. Her statement seemingly confirmed their authenticity, as she wrote: "To those of you looking at photos I took with my husband years ago in the privacy of our home, hope you feel great about yourselves."
It's not yet clear if the breach was caused by something the celebrities did to make their own accounts vulnerable to outside access, or if a vulnerability was was exploited in the actual iCloud service. Either way, the leak is a massive black-eye for Apple's iCloud storage service, coming at the worst possible time as the company prepares to roll out a new version of the iPhone and iOS software next month.