(FOX19) - Dozens of celebrity photos, including some alleged images of actress Jennifer Lawrence nude, began spreading all over the Internet on Sunday evening.
It remains unclear how the photographs ended up online, but an anonymous user began posting the images on the message board 4chan on Sunday around 4 p.m. (FOX19 NOW has chosen to not link the website).
Posters on 4chan and Reddit claimed that the celebrities were hacked through their Apple iCloud accounts, including Victoria Justice, Kate Bosworth, Kate Upton, Ariana Grande and more. Anonymous posters online who claim to have additional media have reportedly been requesting compensation in exchange for their release.
A spokesperson for Jennifer Lawrence released the following statement to Buzzfeed:
"This is a flagrant violation of privacy. The authorities have been contacted and will prosecute anyone who posts the stolen photos of Jennifer Lawrence."
Other celebrities, including Ariana Grande, called the images "completely fake."
If activated, iCloud automatically stores photos, email, contacts, notes and other information online. It allows users to sync data across multiple devices, including iPhones and iPads, as well as access it from any computer with Internet using a login and password.
So how do you make sure photos, contacts and other information stays out of malicious hands?
Turn off iCloud settings
Although the iCloud hack has not been verified, concerned iPhone and iPad users can turn off photo syncing through Settings > iCloud.
One of the best ways to keep sensitive information protected is by using a strong, unique password. Many people reuse their passwords across several social networking sites. While it's hard to remember several different passwords, switch it up.
Don't take nude photos on your phone
The sure way to prevent a hacker from posting nude pictures of you across the Internet for everyone to see: Don't take them on your phone in the first place.
This isn't the first time private photos of Hollywood stars have been hacked. A man was sentenced in 2012 to 10 years in prison after hacking into the private online accounts of Scarlett Johansson and Mila Kunis and posting their photos online.