2014’s infamous “Celebgate” hack saw the intimate private photographs of Hollywood female celebrities leak online after hackers broke into their email, and scoop up images from their iCloud accounts. High profile victims included Jennifer Lawrence, Kate Hudson, Rihanna and Kirsten Dunst.
In recent weeks, US law enforcement agencies have shared details of how celebrity email accounts were hacked through phishing attacks, and announced the guilty pleas of two men involved in the attacks.
But that isn’t quite the end of the story.
Because, sadly, it seems that some celebrities are still suffering, and having their privacy breached, as the result of online accounts being hacked.
More than 30 photos of the couple on vacation in St Bart’s have been posted on Twitter by a hacker who appears to have stolen the pictures from the iCloud account of Styles’s mother, Anne.
Fortunately – and perhaps understandably if the photos were indeed sourced from Harry’s mother’s iCloud account – the pictures appear to be fairly innocuous, and are nothing like as embarrassing as the intimate snaps revealed during CelebGate.
Unfortunately that didn’t stop the photos from being shared by the hacker from a variety of Twitter accounts.
Each time one of the hacker’s Twitter accounts was suspended, he would simply create another one and begin tweeting again – seemingly without any concern as to how he might be punished:
“IF I GO TO JAIL I DID THIS FOR ALL THE HARRY STANS WHO DON’T GET S*** FROM HARRY.”
The photographs circulated quickly online, causing feverish debate amongst One Direction fans and for the hashtage #AnnesiCloud to start trending worldwide.
Regardless of whether the photographs were salacious or not, private is private. And it shouldn’t be a hacker’s decision whether private photographs should be released on the internet or not.
The great thing about two-step verification and two-factor authentication is that it can help protect your data, even if your password is stolen by a criminal.
It goes without saying that all of us, whether we are the parents of a boy band heart throb of not, should take great care not to fall for phishing attacks that might be designed to steal the credentials of our online accounts.