The Fappening is more than just nude celebrity pics
Sometimes I wish the internet could just be a place to exchange wholesome information, such as cooking recipes and tips on Linux, but sadly, there is a dark side. There are deviant people lurking on the web doing all sorts of horrible things. Yesterday, a hacker leaked the private pictures and videos (nude and semi-nude) of many celebrities, and they have spread across the net. For these celebrities, who are real people, I am sure it has been a very trying time; their privacy has been destroyed and I offer my sympathies. For the many people (if they can be called that) viewing and spreading the pictures, the occasion has been dubbed "The Fappening"; a way to proclaim their...enjoyment...of the photos. At least one a celebrity has confirmed that the photos of her are legit and not fakes.
If you choose to search for, and view, these leaked photos, I am not going to judge you for eating the forbidden fruit. However, I won't even mention the victims' names to help you look. Quite frankly, my concern is not just for the celebrities, but more for the public as a whole. For those who were considered paranoid about distrusting the cloud, this justifies their concerns. While I don't think it is time for people to run away from the cloud overall, I do think people should be wary of using cloud storage services for intimate photos.
Apple's iCloud is rumored to have played a role in this. Apple is a very private company that is also seemingly selective regarding which members of the press they choose to communicate. So I am not surprised that since the news of the hacking broke, which was many hours ago, there is no statement on the situation. I have emailed the company, but am not hopeful for a response.
Keep in mind, that while the media focuses on the fact that the photos are of the nude variety, it is much more than that. Even if the leaked photos were of people fully clothed, that doesn't change the fact that their privacy was violated. Even if you use the cloud to only store tame family photos, lets say, your family eating turkey on Thanksgiving, those are still private. You wouldn't want some creep looking at your family moments without your permission.
Consumers need to be aware of the potential dangers of storing information in the cloud -- regardless of which service they embrace.
Update 1: Security researcher Graham Cluley has chimed in, saying "There have been claims that iCloud may be involved, but it's tricky to confirm even if all of the celebrities affected use Apple devices. [...] Even if they were all using iCloud, it’s possible that there isn’t a security hole in iCloud itself but rather that celebrities had not properly secured their accounts with -- for instance -- hard-to-guess passwords". The story was updated to reflect that iCloud may not have been hacked, or that it is the only cloud service involved in the photo theft.
Update 2: According to the Associated Press, with rumors swirling that iCloud-hacking may be the source of the leak, Apple is now investigating the leaked photos and videos. Apple spokeswoman Natalie Kerris is quoted as saying, "we take user privacy very seriously and are actively investigating this report".