VIBE: How are celebrities getting exposed?
Petko D. Petkov, Founder of House of Hackers (houseofhackers.ning.com): Emails are easy to break into—especially webmail—by taking advantage of the password reset features. Once an email inbox is compromised, the attacker can easily gain access to other places the same user has registered with. Some mobile providers allow you to gain access to the phone’s pictures from the Web interface.
Most of the nude leaks are cell phone snapshots.
Some mobile providers seem to be easier to attack than others… Mobile phones today are a lot more secure than a couple of years ago. [Editors note: Not!] But Bluetooth is still a problem if you don’t take it seriously. Not too long ago, the iPhone was affected by browser-related vulnerabilities. An attacker can take full control of a vulnerable device if the victim is lured to a malicious URL. This can be done by either sending a [text], or the attacker can use any social tool that the victim is frequently using.
Meaning Facebook or Twitter. If the nude photos were uploaded to a photo program, can that program be hacked?
Virtually anything can be hacked given enough time and persistence.
How can John Q. Celebrity avoid being the next victim?
Never underestimate inside hacks. It takes a few moments to dump pictures from an unattended phone or, even better, a few seconds to reconfigure the phone to gain access to it later via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi… Change passwords every month. Apply automatic updates regularly for your PC. Put up your firewall. And make sure that your mobile devices are fully locked. —Michael Arceneaux
This story appears in the December ’09/January ’10 issue of VIBE Magazine.