Apple, FBI investigate massive celebrity photo 'hack'

Victims of hackers included Oscar-winner Jennifer Lawrence and pop star Rihanna.

The FBI and Apple were urgently investigating Sept. 1 after an apparent massive hack of a cloud data service unleashed a torrent of intimate pictures of dozens of celebrities across the Internet.

Anonymous posters to online message boards boasted of having nude images of scores of female stars including Oscar-winner Jennifer Lawrence and top model Kate Upton.

Reports suggested hackers had "ripped" private images from Apple's iCloud online data storage, a potentially embarrassing - and damaging - breach for the California tech giant.

"We take user privacy very seriously and are actively investigating this report," said Apple spokeswoman Natalie Kerris, the Re/code website reported.

The FBI has also joined the hunt, other U.S. reports said. "The FBI is aware of the allegations concerning computer intrusions and the unlawful release of material involving high profile individuals, and is addressing the matter," The Los Angeles Times quoted Laura Eimiller, spokeswoman for the FBI in Los Angeles, as saying.

"Any further comment would be inappropriate at this time," she added.

Some of the pictures had previously been circulated on message forums, and others appeared fake, but some major stars expressed outrage and threatened legal action.

"This is a flagrant violation of privacy. The authorities have been contacted and will prosecute anyone who posts the stolen photos of Jennifer Lawrence," Lawrence's agent told entertainment media.

Upton's lawyer, Lawrence Shore, told Us Magazine: "We intend to pursue anyone disseminating or duplicating these images to the fullest extent possible." 

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