It began August 31 of last year. That day, around 500 revealing photos of celebrity women, including Jennifer Lawrence, Kate Upton, and Scarlett Johansson, were posted to the online message board 4chan and spread like wildfire on sites Imgur and Reddit. Subsequent cache dumps targeted the likes of Kim Kardashian, Rihanna, and supermodel Cara Delevingne.Apple soon revealed that the stolen images were obtained via a series of brute force attacks (a very targeted attack on user names, passwords, and security questions) executed against Apples iCloud online storage system. In laymans terms, because Apples iCloud service didnt require two-step password authentication, hackers could take an unlimited number of stabs at celebs passwords and security questions.
The unprecedented leak, dubbed The Fappening, raised questions about the gaping holes in Apples iCloud security, the invasion of celebrities privacy, and the misogyny prevalent in online culturesince nearly all the victims in this charade were women. As its most famous target, Jennifer Lawrence was branded the de facto mouthpiece for the wronged women, and lashed out against the hackers, labeling the breach a sex crime. Ive interviewed several other A-list actresses in the wake of The Fappening who had their private photos stolen, but theyve remained mum on the subjecteither afraid of lending it any more ink, or perhaps fearing reprisals from the hackers, who still remain at large.
But one star, Teresa Palmer, spoke with me candidly about the aftermath of being hacked, and how it affected her. Palmer had a collection of private, semi-revealing photos stolen off her iCloud of her on vacation years ago, which were then disseminated online.
It was difficult, says Palmer. It certainly was such an invasion of privacy, but also scary on a universal level that nobodys stuff is safe. Thank god for me I didnt really have anything too risqu, but its really scary to know that I have so many photos of my son, my birth video, all of my stuff that I know is in the hands of someone thats hacked into my computer.
She also spoke out against iCloud securitywhose flimsiness most experts have blamed for the hacking. Palmer says she didnt send her personal photos to anyone.
That should be enabled, she says of two-factor authentication. I dont know how the initial hack actually happened, but I do know that theres a way where once they have a password, they can set up a new device attached to your iCloud and get anything thats ever been in your iCloudeven if photos have been deleted.
I sat down with the 28-year-old Aussie actress at a grocery market in Los Angeles for a longer profile of Palmer (Warm Bodies), whos poised to have a massive 2015 with starring roles in the Point Break remake, Terrence Malicks Knight of Cups, and the thriller Triple Nine with Kate Winslet, Woody Harrelson, and Chiwetel Ejiofor. And, last but not least, shell star in The Ever After, a gritty love story she co-produced and co-wrote with her husband, actor/filmmaker Mark Webber.
Palmer claims that many of the A-list women targeted by the hackers got together in Los Angeles to commiserate and air their respective grievances. And the Hollywood women who gathered together (who she wouldnt name), all agreed that The Fappening was an act of misogyny.
You know whats so unfortunate? Palmer says. All the women got together and talked it out. We all had photos of boyfriendssome are famous, some are notwho are naked, and none of the photos of famous men were ever released. It was all women. So, it was a personal attack on women, and trying to shame women. I just think its disgusting that there were no menI think there was only one male victimso women were specifically targeted.
For Palmer, who gave birth to son Bodhi last February, life hasnt changed since the hack, and she says while the whole episode was really disappointing and you have to be super careful with what you store on services like iCloud, she doesnt feel the least bit ashamed by the images of her that circulated online.It hasnt changed what I do, she says. Ill be in the bath with my son and my husband will take a picture of us. Ive just given over to the fact that, You know what? This may end up on the Internet, and if it ends up on the Internet, it ends up on the Internet. I think I have a pretty healthy perspective on it, but I know some of the other girls were really traumatized by it."
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