Celeb Hack Exposes Holes In Digital Security
More than 100 celebrities are thought to be victims of this latest hacking scandal but the perpetrator is yet to come forward.
As the FBI investigates how nude photos of Jennifer Lawrence and model Kate Upton, among others, came to be posted on 4chan.org, a conversation has begun about the difficulties of maintaining our privacy in this digital age.
Many of the photos have proved to be genuine and there are differing theories for how they were obtained.
Some cyber security experts speculated that hackers may have obtained the images by exploiting weaknesses in an online image-storing platform.
Apple is also investigating whether its iCloud has been compromised.
"It is important for celebrities and the general public to remember that images and data no longer just reside on the device that captured it," security researcher Ken Westin wrote in a blog post.
"Once images and other data are uploaded to the cloud, it becomes much more difficult to control who has access to it, even if we think it is private."
Other celebrities who were not affected by the leak have been urging the public not to view the photos and thus perpetuate the problem.
British actress Emma Watson wrote on Twitter: "Even worse than seeing women's privacy violated on social media is reading the accompanying comments that show such a lack of empathy."
American actress Lena Dunham said the person responsible for leaking the pictures was "a sex offender" and anyone looking at them was "violating these women again and again".
Private information and images of celebrities are frequent targets for hackers. Last year, a site posted credit reports, federal Social Security numbers and other financial info on celebrities, including Jay Z and his wife Beyonce, Mel Gibson, Ashton Kutcher and many others.
However, the law on crimes like this is not yet set in stone.
Most websites which host photos, such as 4chan.org, are protected by a federal law which absolves them of responsibility for material posted by third parties.
Prosecution will depend on knowing who uploaded the photo and where it originated.
Cloud technology specialist James Sinclair told Sky News everyone must take responsibility for protecting themselves.
"Everything digital goes somewhere. Knowing that, you have to take good steps which is don't use the same usernames and passwords on every website, keep them cryptic and use two-factor authentication if you can.
"When data goes into a digital format it becomes a threat," he added.
Some have blamed the celebrities themselves for posing for the photographs, including Ricky Gervais who backtracked and deleted his tweet after a backlash from users.
But most people seem to agree with Lawrence's publicist - the hack was a "flagrant violation of privacy" - and the hope is that this time, the criminals behind the action will be tracked down and convicted.