FBI trace celebrity iCloud hacks to Chicago home

The FBI has traced the leak of hundreds of nude photos featuring high-profile celebrities to a Chicago home, seizing a computer, cellphones and storage devices, reports The Guardian.

The photo and video material was released onto the internet last year without permission, stolen from the victims’ smartphones via an iCloud breach. A computer in Chicago has now been traced to nearly 600 iCloud accounts, including those belonging to celebrities, models and their families and friends, as revealed by recently unsealed court documents.

According to CNN, the breached iCloud accounts were accessed 3,263 times from the same IP address, but it is just one of a network of computers thought to have been involved in trading and leaking the photos online.

“These are a series of unconnected guys conducting relatively unsophisticated hacking,” a law enforcement official told CNN.

The raid took place at the home of Emilio Herrera, who is under investigation by the FBI but has not been charged. As The Register reports, a criminal capable of a hack of this nature using their own IP address raises questions, and Herrera may still be a victim himself.

As ESET’s senior security researcher Stephen Cobb wrote last year, it’s important that blame for the hacks is directed at the criminals themselves, and not the victims whose security has been breached.

“The creepy people who stole the pictures are the ones responsible for this scandal and they should be held accountable,” explained Cobb. “For some strange reason, the world tends to approach computer security differently from physical security. If you forget to lock your car, that does not make you responsible for it being stolen. The car thief is clearly the only person truly responsible.”

Photo: DFree / Shutterstock.com

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