Celebrity photo leaks cast shadow on upcoming Apple product launch

Apple has been forced to deny security breaches just days before its biggest product launch in years.

by Elizabeth Anderson
Last Updated: 18 Dec 2014

It's that time of year when Apple enthusiasts eagerly await the next product update, and this year the tech giant had promised the biggest product launch in several years.

But this time a cloud has been cast over the tech giant following the leak of intimate photos of dozens of celebrities, including Jennifer Lawrence, to image posting website 4Chan - and the perpetrator has said more pictures of different celebrities will follow.

When the breach came to light over the weekend, many speculated that Apple's security systems were flawed and cyber security experts warned of the privacy of cloud services in general.

After keeping silent on the subject, Apple finally admitted that some of its most famous customers’ iPhones were hacked, but the company stressed that the security of its central iCloud system was not breached. Instead, Apple suggests the hackers took the photos after deducing the victims' log-in information.

The firm put out this statement last night:

'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 questions, a practice that has become all too common on the Internet. 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.'

Apple has recommended that all its customers use long passwords and sign up for 'two-step verification', which adds another layer of security when using services including iCloud, the App store and the iTunes store.

Shares in the company rose to as much as $103.65 after the statement was released, the highest price in its history.

The controversy comes just days before a highly anticipated new product launch on 9 September. Aside from confirming a 'special event', Apple has remained tight-lipped about what it will be releasing. However, tech-watchers are speculating that an iPhone 6, a new iPad Air, an Apple TV or maybe an iWatch could be unveiled.

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