September has already turned out to be a bleak month for a long list of female celebrities. A media frenzy was sparked when it emerged that a hacker had gained access to intimate photos of various glamorous stars and proceeded to distribute them on a number of file sharing sites, most notably 4chan.
Most of the headlines reference Oscar-winning actress Jennifer Lawrence, due to her soaring fame at the age of just 24. And at a time when she has started dating Coldplay frontman Chris Martin, the young starlet’s personal life has been plunged into turmoil.
The list of female celebrities who have fallen victim to the hacker is simply astounding. Coming from every corner of the entertainment industry, names include the likes of Rihanna, Avril Lavigne, Kirsten Dunst, Winona Ryder, Jenny McCarthy, and Cara Delevingne.
Varied Celeb Responses
Celebrity responses have been mixed. Predictably, some of the stars rushed to deny the authenticity of the images, claiming that they had been fabricated using photo-editing software such as Photoshop. Ariana Grande and Victoria Justice were two of the celebrities who categorically denied that the photos were real.
In contrast, however, some of the celebrities, Lawrence included, released admissions that the images were, in fact, real. Scott Pilgrim vs. the World actress Mary Elizabeth Winstead had the following to say on the matter: “To those of you looking at photos I took with my husband years ago in the privacy of our home, (I) hope you feel great about yourselves.”
Twitter to Suspend Accounts
Twitter has chosen to take action against the privacy breach by suspending the accounts of any users who share, specifically, the Jennifer Lawrence images. There is no word on whether accounts will be suspended for sharing any of the other images released on 4chan.
What is 4chan?
4chan is an online message board through which millions of users share various forms of content. While some of the content might be entirely legal, much of it has been obtained through hacking. Additionally, 4chan has also been used for the purpose of orchestrating internet pranks. The user-base of the site means that thousands of users can be enlisted in the space of a couple of hours.
Source of the Leak
Technology experts have ascertained that the oldest of the images are from December 2011, with the newest taken in August 2014. Graham Cluely, a digital security expert believes that a celebrity email address book was hacked and that a phishing scam was targeted at the various email addresses they discovered.
This is an alternative theory to the speculation that Apple’s iCloud storage platform had been the source of the images. Similarly, media sources have speculated that the hacker could have targeted another cloud-based storage platform, called Dropbox. The final theory worth considering is that a hacker possessing all of the images was hacked by a fellow hacker.
Nowhere to Hide
Honestly, you have to feel sympathy for all of the female celebrities who have been affected, but will this see the end of celebrity naïvety when it comes to digital security? These women are in the public eye from the moment they set foot outside their front door. They have publicists and various assistants to guide their behaviour and warn them of potential threats.
Information hacking is by no means a new concept. Without going into detail, sex tapes have been shared on the internet for more than a decade. Stars like Kim Kardashian have been among those to be compromised. Coincidentally, she is one of the names to be implicated in the latest data leak.
Having witnessed the ease with which compromising photos and sex tapes are released on the web, you would think that anybody famous would refrain from taking such risks. These stars lead wildly different lives to the average person and are at significantly greater risk, whether they like it or not.
From this point forward, you have to believe that intelligent celebrities will refrain from sharing intimate images or videos on the internet or via their electronic devices. There is absolutely no way that they can expect to plead ignorance to the continuing threat of cyber criminals. Enough of their fellow celebrities have already fallen victim and they must learn from this sickening invasion of privacy.
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