'Outraged' Apple says iCloud is not to blame for leak of celebrity nude pictures

Apple has said its iCloud service was not breached by hackers who posted nude pictures of more than 100 celebrities.

Photos from the celebrities were stolen individually, Apple has claimed.

The celebrity accounts were “compromised by a very targeted attack on user names, passwords and security questions, a practice that is all too common on the Internet,” Apple said in a statement.

Apple worked hard to dampen the firestorm about the hacked celebrity accounts, with nude photos of actress Jennifer Lawrence and others surfacing over the last few days on the Internet, allegedly obtained by hackers who used the company’s iCloud service to illegally access files.

Bloomberg said the reports threatened to mar Apple’s event on 9 September, where the company is reportedly set to unveil new iPhones, a wearable device and a mobile-payments system.

The FBI released released a statement saying the agency was aware of the allegations “concerning computer intrusions and the unlawful release of material involving high profile individuals.”

The agency is “addressing the matter,” Laura Eimiller, an FBI spokeswoman in Los Angeles, said by e-mail.

The iCloud service is a key part of Apple’s strategy to unite its iPhones, tablets and desktop computers, letting users store contacts, e-mails, photos and other personal information on external systems they can access.

Apple said in its statement that a flaw with iCloud, the service used for storing photos, contacts, e-mail and other information, wasn’t responsible, nor was its “Find my iPhone” feature.

“When we learned of the theft, we were outraged and immediately mobilized Apple’s engineers to discover the source,” Apple said. “Our customers’ privacy and security are of utmost importance to us.”

The company said it is working with law enforcement to identify the perpetrators of the hacks.

Apple is also encouraging people to use stronger passwords, including having at least eight characters with one number, one letter, one capital letter and not be used in the prior year.

Apple also wants customers to use two-step verification, which means after a password is entered, an additional code will be sent to a person’s mobile phone.

Security and privacy is a key issue for Apple, said Bloomberg , as it introduces new services, that will require people to trust the company with sensitive information.

The next batch of iPhones will include technology so they can be used for making payments.

The Drum reported earlier that Apple was actively investigating the leak which led to naked pictures of over 100 female celebrities being made public.

Names such as Jennifer Lawrence, Kirsten Dunst, Winona Ryder and Rihanna were amongst those targeted by the hacker who revealed himself only as Tristan.