The FBI announced late Monday that it is now addressing the massive leak of nude photos of Jennifer Lawrence, Kate Upton, Ariana Grande, Kirsten Dunst and other celebrities Sunday.
“The FBI is aware of the allegations concerning computer intrusions and the unlawful release of material involving high profile individuals, and is addressing the matter,” FBI spokesperson Laura Eimiller said in a statement. (RELATED: Nude Photos Of Jennifer Lawrence, Kate Upton Released In Massive Leak)
“Any further comment would be inappropriate at this time.”
Dozens of sexually explicit photos of the Oscar-winner and other celebrities were published on the (NSFW) 4chan link, b/chan, by an anonymous user. Once the nude photo frenzy began, the photos made their way to Reddit and other sites. An archive of some of the photos released can be found here.
Though all of the photos authenticity could not be confirmed, several celebrities, including Lawrence, either confirmed or denied them on Twitter, and Lawrence’s rep said they had contacted the authorities and would prosecute anyone who posted the “stolen photos.”
Upton’s lawyer issued a similar statement to “Us Magazine.”
“This is obviously an outrageous violation of our client Kate Upton’s privacy. We intend to pursue anyone disseminating or duplicating these illegally obtained images to the fullest extent possible.”
An anonymous user claiming to be involved in the leak, but not alone, said the hacking had been months in the making.
“Guys just to let you know I didn’t do this by myself. There are several other people who were on it and I needed to count to make this happened. This is the result of several months of long and hard work by all involved. We appreciate your donations and applaud your excitement…”
The user said they would be moving to a new location, where they would continue to release more photos. Some have assumed the users leaked the photos in exchange for Bitcoin donations.
Monday, a 27-year-old Georgia man was fingered as the hacker after he published a photo of his desktop claiming responsibility for the photos, and unintentionally included his personal information, which tied him to previous posts he had made on the thread.
Bryan Hamade later denied the claim, and said he was just seeking to make money.
“I am not behind this. It was so stupid — I saw a lot of people posting the actual leaks and bitcoin addresses and I’ve read a lot about bitcoin and how they’re are valuable and I thought, oh cool I’ll get free bitcoins,” he told a Buzzfeed reporter.
Hackers were allegedly allowed to access the celebrities’ personal photos because of a bug in Apple’s iCloud and “Find My iPhone” software, which was particularly vulnerable because hackers needed only an email address and to repeatedly try different passwords to obtain access.