Monday, September 8, 2014

Interested in Celebrity nudes! Are you not concerned about your own sexted photo?

Most of us have read or heard that on many online anonymous bulletin boards, were posted over 100 nude photographs of prominent celebrities like Jennifer Lawrence and Kate Upton. These celebrities had two things in common; firstly they used Apple iCloud to back up their store of photographs and secondly, many had deleted the published pictures one or two years prior.

Obviously, nude pictures or videos of celebrities are worth a lot of money to collectors who bought and sold these pictures on underground forums. Hackers targeted celebrity accounts for these pictures because of their high demand in the underground markets.  Reports suggested that hackers compromised iCloud accounts by either guessing the account password or the answer to the secret question, and probably held on to this access for several years because the account owner never changed the password or the answer to the secret question.  iCloud’s password protection services during this period lacked basic security features such as alerts on backups or one time authentication passwords which would have prevented this type of known attacks. In the near future, we may see an enriched set of security features such as one time authentication.

Nude photographs of celebrities certainly made hot news and sparked universal outrage, security awareness and a FBI hunt for these hackers. Yet, online sites such as the bulletin boards which notoriously benefited before they self-censored under the threat of legal action, have gone scot free.

Once online and public, these photographs besides finding their way into the hands of many individuals, have found home in several interesting places such as pornographic sites and even to an upcoming art event called “No Delete” in Los Angeles which will print onto life-sized canvas the leaked private images of Jennifer Lawrence and Kate Upton.

While we dwell on the sensational and juicy fallout of these nude revelations, all cybercitizens particularly those that sext should pause and reflect. Surely, it could have been your photo that is on one of these sub groups, porn sites, revenge site or circulating among peer to peer networks among your partners friends. Like collectors, partners may over a drink share or compare pictures in competition or conquest. To protect one self, reflect on the potential fallout when you create, transmit or store sensitive personal information that may be used against you by third parties that get their hands on it or when relationships sour. Would you regret a nude picture taken five years ago that suddenly appeared when you are happily in a relationship or be able to laugh it off? – Do ask yourself?

To find out what one must do to secure your password and be aware of cyber risks to personal privacy, do download and read my book “StaySafe CyberCitizen”


  1. Your book is a wonderful treatise on how to stay safe on the Internet. Wonderful write.

  2. Celebrity news and journalism is like crack. Americans are addicted to it. We need to hear the Mel Gibson rants and see Lindsay Lohan report to jail.