New Findings Reveal Almost 600 iCloud Accounts Hacked in Celebgate

Posted on Jun 19, 2015

During the summer of 2014, the Internet and social media were abuzz when personal photos of some of the Hollywood's most well-known stars were stolen through a cyberattack. After reviewing a search warrant affidavit that was recently unsealed in the U.S. District Court in Chicago, it was found that 572 Apple iCloud accounts were accessed 3,263 times from the IP address of Emilio Herrera, a resident of Chicago.

The source
Authorities served a warrant to search the home of Herrera's parents, where he was staying at the time, in October, just a month after the photos surfaced online. Authorities found a number of computers and devices, including two desktop computers, two cellphones, an MP3 player, two floppy disks and more. They believe that Herrera is part of a larger network of hackers. 

"Organizations should take appropriate measures to confidently let consumers know they're keeping up with the cybersecurity industry."

According to NBC News, the affidavit also said that Herrera's computer address was used in nearly 5,000 attempts to reset another 1,987 iCloud passwords. But it wasn't specified whether or not this number was a result of multiple attempts to gain access to the same accounts or if each instance was an attempt to attack a different account.

Apple maintained that iCloud wasn't the victim of a cybersecurity breach, but that the exposure was the result of a compromise of users' passwords and other personal information. However, it still took measures to make sure that users felt that their information was safe.

As a result of this event, Apple instilled practices that users can already see taking form, such as alerts whenever someone attempts to change their password, restoring iCloud data to a new device and sending push notifications whenever a device logs into an account for the first time. The iPhone and iPod developer felt that it was a priority to regain the trust of its users to maintain a healthy, trusting relationship.

A reminder for businesses
While this leak was a chilling experience for the celebrities that were targeted, it should be a lesson for everyone else as well. Consumers should make sure that these kinds of instances are prevented whenever possible by companies they do business with. Organizations should take appropriate measures to confidently let consumers know they're keeping up with the cybersecurity industry and taking the appropriate steps to make sure that their information is being kept safe. 

The use of sharing software is growing, and as it does, so do potential threats. By using a system to detect signs of cyberattacks, either instantly or in their earliest stages, businesses avoid putting their users and their own systems at risk. While preventing cyberattacks is an important part of cyberdefense, so is being able to immediately identify them if one occurs. 

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