Hackers have leaked nude photos from a number of high profile celebrities, sparking fears over the security of Apple’s iCloud system.
The images first appeared on online bulletin board 4chan before going viral, according to US media reports.
More than 60 photographs of Lawrence were among those reportedly stolen after what some have said could have been an iCloud leak which allowed celebrities’ phones to be hacked.
A list of those who have allegedly been hacked has also appeared online, Buzzfeed reported.
Containing more than 100 names, it includes Jennifer Lawrence, Aubrey Plaza, Cat Deeley, Kelly Brook, Kim Kardashian, Michelle Keegan, and Rihanna.
A number of the stars on the list have trended on Twitter after the photos were shared online.
Apple has yet to comment about claims that the person who stole the images obtained them by hacking into iCloud, the remote storage service.
It’s unclear how the images were obtained, but anonymous 4chan users said that they were taken from celebrities’ iCloud accounts.
The accounts are designed to allow iPhone, iPad, and Mac users to synchronize images, settings, calendar information, and other data between devices, but the service has been criticized for being unreliable and confusing.
The huge leak was teased earlier this week when an anonymous user suggested that they had access to a cache of celebrities’ personal photos.
The user that claimed responsibility for the hack indicated that more pictures and videos of the celebrities were available, but requested both Bitcoin and monetary donations to a PayPal account before the stolen images and videos were posted.
Many of the images are reportedly forgeries: a spokesperson for Ariana Grande said that the photos are “completely fake,” while Victoria Justice took to Twitter to refute claims that the pictures were of her.
But other celebrity victims of the hack have confirmed that the pictures are real. Mary Elizabeth Winstead tweeted that she could “only imagine the creepy effort that went into”the breach, and a spokesperson for Jennifer Lawrence released a statement to BuzzFeed in which they called the leak “a flagrant violation of privacy.”
Winstead claims that the photos shouldn’t have even existed – having already been deleted from her phone.
Knowing those photos were deleted long ago, I can only imagine the creepy effort that went into this. Feeling for everyone who got hacked.
— Mary E. Winstead (@M_E_Winstead) August 31, 2014
A number of Twitter accounts posting uncensored pictures of the victims of the hack have already been suspended.
Harsher punishments could await the person responsible for leaking the pictures — in 2012, a man was sentenced to 10 years in prison for hacking the private email accounts of celebrities including Mila Kunis and Scarlett Johansson.
Analysis: Apple iCloud Hack – How one breach can snowball
Gavin Davey, Associate in the Insurance Industry Group at international accountancy firm Moore Stephens, commented on the mass hack of Apple’s iCloud: “Users need to ask themselves just how private their data really is and take proper responsibility over their security. Criminals and hackers rely on the fact that the more secure an account is the more complicated it is for the user to access it which breeds complacency. Passwords are often shared across multiple websites and cloud systems so a breach at one can easily snowball into multiple breaches across all of users’ systems, and storage.
“The security of each individual device also needs to be assessed. Apple devices, despite being generally regarded as very user-friendly, have a bewildering array of security options many confused users ignore, leaving them vulnerable to attack. It’s no surprise that criminals and hackers are able to employ myriad attack vectors in order to gain access to private information.”