The FBI is reporting pursuing leads that hackers used so-called “phishing” scams to trick celebrities into providing passwords to their iCloud accounts.
Phishing is one of the earliest scams of the Internet age. Basically, a hacker sends a fake email to someone claiming to be a bank or some other service.
The email’s have become increasingly sophisticated over the years and may resemble a real email in almost every detail.
The hacker claims something is wrong with the account and asks for personal information including passwords to either verify the account or fix the problem.
had over 10emails sent 2 me asking for my password & if I didn't reply with the info my accounts would be shut down good thing I didn't send
— Denise Richards (@DENISE_RICHARDS) September 3, 2014
Upton, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Jennifer Lawrence and Lea Michele may all have been duped by a phishing scam, gossip site TMZ reported citing law enforcement sources.
Social media sites were flooded with dozens of intimate private photos over the weekend, posted by a hacker only known as anonymous. The hacker, who is being sought by the FBI, said months of work by a team of cohorts went into cracking the celebrity accounts.
Initially, it was thought they had exploited a security breach in Apple’s iCloud, but the company has since denied that it’s system was compromised.
Now it seems hackers may have employed a variety of methods, including phishing. Apple confirmed as much in its statement.
“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,” the company said.
One celebrity, Denise Richards, said she received more than 10 emails demanding account information and threatening to close her account if she did not provide it. She didn’t.
The investigation is continuing. Be sure to follow TheImproper on Twitter for the latest updates.