UPDATE: Apple released a statement on their investigation into the photo theft: “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 question, a practice that has become all too common on the Internet.”
The statement also addresses claims that the thief hacked into the victims’ iCloud accounts but clarifies Apple engineers are still looking into the case. “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.”
ORIGINAL STORY: Multiple nude photos of female celebrities, including Oscar-winning actress Jennifer Lawrence, surfaced Sunday on website 4chan, and the FBI released a statement Monday claiming they’re looking into the situation.
“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,” the statement said. “Any further comment would be inappropriate at this time.”
Although some of the victims claimed the photos aren’t real—Nickelodeon star Victoria Justice tweeted, “these so called nudes of me are FAKE”—actress Mary Elizabeth Winstead confirmed the photos were authentic on her own Twitter and said she’s “feeling for everyone who got hacked.” Lawrence’s representatives issued a statement, calling the situation a “flagrant violation of privacy.”
Apple is also looking into the leak to see if any of the victims’ iCloud accounts had been hacked. “We take user privacy very seriously and are actively investigating this report,” Apple spokeswoman Natalie Kerris said in a statement to the Associated Press.
A similar case occurred in 2012, when Christopher Chaney pleaded guilty to hacking into the email accounts of female stars including Scarlett Johansson and Mila Kunis. He was later sentenced to 10 years in prison.