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Apple, FBI: YES we're, er, looking into the NAKED CELEBRITY PICS. Aren't you?

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The Federal Bureau of Investigation and Apple are examining the theft of a large cache of naked celebrity photos, thought by many to have been snaffled from the fruity firm's iCloud backup silos.

As El Reg reported yesterday, the photos depict Jennifer Lawrence, Kate Upton and around 100 others are thought to have been stolen from Apple iCloud accounts.

FBI spokeswoman Laura Eimiller said in a statement that it was aware of the hack of "high profile individuals" and was "addressing the matter", but said that "any further comment would be inappropriate".

Apple spokeswoman Natalie Kerris said the company was "actively investigating" the hacks.

Some speculation on the picture-pinching pirates' methods has supposed that the newly-released iBrute brute force password-guessing tool may have been used to break into the celebs' iCloud accounts.

The tool's authors hackappcom wrote that the tool used the Find My iPhone service API, which is not protected against brute force attacks. Attackers may have used a list of 500 popular passwords that meet Apple requirements.

But as Hackappcom pointed out the tool was published one day before the hack took place making the crime "very difficult" to pull off using the tool in such a tight timeframe.

"iBrute was published a day before the incident. It's very difficult to perform this kind of targeted attack in one day, so it's very unlikely that iBrute was used for this attack, but maybe some evil guys found the same bug and used it," the authors wrote in a post

"Anyway if your accounts were hacked by @hackappcom's method it also means that your passwords are crap [but] it is not your fault if you are using bad passwords because you are celebrities, not nerds."

As The Reg pointed out in May after an entity called "Oleg Pliss" harvested antipodean ithing credentials, Apple does not limit the number of password entry attempts users could can make when attempting to access their iCloud accounts.

Pliss or these new attackers could therefore have worked from a list of iCloud user names and set a script to brute force its way into Apple accounts.

Once Apple applied rate limiters, any "Oleg bot" would be hindered or, with a little more security smarts, struck dead.

El Reg has inquired about whether any brute force attempts against any affected celebrity account was detected in logs.

Other rumours suggest the nude photos may have been stolen from an existing cache of photos acquired over time by other hackers.

Security bod Dan Kaminsky guessed the photos may have been compiled from hacked computers and collected until a large cache was ready for release.

These theory were in part based on an examination of EXIF metadata contained in the photos that suggested many were taken in 2011, while others were captured as recently as last month. ®

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