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The iCloud Hacker Unveiled?



After a huge number of private photographs of some of the most popular women in Hollywood leaked last Sunday online, journalists, authorities and users are now curious to find out who the nameless hacker gaining access to their accounts was. The theory goes that the leak was caused by hacking the celebrities' iCloud accounts.

The tech giant behind iCloud is famous for the simplicity of its products, which also seems to be their greatest problem. The hack could not have come at a possibly worse moment for Apple, because the company is now preparing the largest event of the year – the launch of iPhone 6, a smartwatch and a new operating system for Mac. Needless to say, all of the aforementioned products will be related to iCloud.

It seems the leak may have aimed to defame not the celebs but namely Apple. However, there are a number of suggestions on the way of attacking. Some suggested the source was a brute force hack, unveiled by Russian security researchers, while others believe that the Wi-Fi at the Emmy Awards could have been compromised. Another theory states that the celebrity photos leak do not originate from a single source but have been collected over a long period of time. The collector suddenly decided to post them online in this particular moment. The picture collector goes by the user name OriginalGuy. Very original, indeed.

OriginalGuy has been active on illegal content platforms such as AnonIB and 4Chan. After the suspending of 4Chan in 2006 some of its long-term users created the AnonIB platform, which grew in popularity during the years, offering identical service. During the years, AnonIB had developed a large network for sharing pornography and other illegal content, which led to frequent FBI raids on its servers and administrators. 

Besides being a nest for large amounts of pornography, AnonIB also hosts a large ring of experienced hackers, who may have learned and applied methods for hacking the celebs' iCloud accounts. Using dedicated password-cracking tools and guessing security questions through Apple's iForgot password reset form, hackers were able to gain access to iCloud accounts using only the email address of the target.

Once inside an account, hackers could download photographs using the file backup system that Apple provides. Over the last week, journalists started reporting that the AnonIB user OriginalGuy has been identified as the source of the leak, and the photos were not a result of a single hack but were collected over a period of time. The collector had been contributing to the website fund, sharing a large number of content over the years. The peculiar part is why the OriginalGuy has decided to share his entire collection at all. Usually collectors try to sell their possessions in small parts trying to make big money out of the deals. It seems the OriginalGuy has gained nothing but popularity this time.

Censored versions of the leaked photos were posted first on AnonIB, using which the collector expected donations from users who wanted to see the full versions. However, it seems he only faced a great lack of interest and comments on the upcoming payback for his actions. An unexpected turn of events followed. His entire collection was posted anonymously on 4Chan, which made it become accessible for thousands of users over the Internet. The OriginalGuy claims he had not gain any profit from the whole thing and has no idea how the collection leaked on the other platform.

Regardless of what has truly happened, the only certain thing is the flaw in the iCloud security. Apple instantly made improvements in their security, but what is done is done. Let's hope it will not happen again. But just to make sure, simply turn to more reliable cloud storage services, such as the ones, reviewed in our blog.

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