It’s been a momentous week for obsessed fans of certain US celebrities, thanks to the so-called iCloud "hack" leading to personal nudie photos of some of the world’s most photographed ladies appearing online.
Response has been somewhat mixed, to say the least. For every dribbling request for the HD originals and "Have-you-got-any-Billie-Piper?" inquiries, a lot of people have suggested that looking at the photos is akin to abuse of those pictured.
Apple, meanwhile, has been rather quiet about the issue, suggesting that the problem is not an actual "hack" of its servers, but actually lies in the classic problem of users setting easily guessable passwords and security questions.
The only problem being, if you’re a celebrity and everyone knows your darling pet’s name from Instagram and where you went to school and the name of your mum from a tell-all TV interview, it’s pretty hard to come up with properly secure answers to the usual questions.
Password cannot be a password
Given the rather fraught nature of today’s male/female internet relationships, many of the iCloud arguments were seen to contains an element of "victim blaming" in one way or another, as the first response of many internet idiots was to blame the women for taking saucy snaps in the first place.
On the Guardian, reader SteveBiko187 underlined that fact that it’s all perhaps best described as a bit of a naive accident, posting: "If I leave my mobile phone on the seat of my car, is it my fault that it gets stolen? No. Could I have done more to stop it happening? Yes. I’m sure numerous people would tell me I was daft for leaving it there in the first place. That doesn’t mean they are blaming me, and not the thief, for the crime. It’s just being realistic."
This generated a sensible reply from reader Polar 650 who looked for a positive in the mass shaming of some ladies, saying: "Personally I want nothing backed up, shared or copied unless I’ve specifically asked for that to happen. Maybe one positive to come out of this will be people thinking carefully about where their stuff does end up."
Even the Financial Times cottoned on to the fact that combining the words "Jennifer Lawrence" and "hack" in an opening paragraph equalled instant internet traffic gold, with the site reporting on the news that Apple plans to calm the outrage by introducing emergency notifications to tell users when their data’s being accessed on another device.
Reader MarcusAurealius wins the tin-hat conspiracy helmet award for the week with his unsympathetic commentary: "You put your personal information in the hands of someone else and then they lose it or allow someone else to see it? Get what you deserve. Also, noticed how Apple has made devices with a pathetic memory storage that you can’t expand and then advertises the iCloud annoyingly every 5 minutes? Jeez – are you all that stupid?"
Typing that got him in the mood, so he broke out the CAPS and continued: "The second you put YOUR data on THEIR server, it’s not YOUR data any more it’s THEIR data. Bit like when you put YOUR money in a bank and it’s not YOUR money any more because you’ve lent it to them at call with unlimited duration."
Sensible reader Fonz knows a bit about data storage, as it happens, replying with the calm: "Once something is on the Cloud it can’t be easily deleted. This is not for sinister reasons but more about how data storage works (even on your personal computer you need multiple reformats to ensure data is fully deleted). However this has obvious downsides for the user."
I hacked my friend and what happened next will amaze you
Over on BGR, the methodology of the so-called "hack" was repeatedly called into question. The facts appear to suggest that a combination of guesswork and brute force password cracking was responsible for the data going public, rather than any actual hacker doing any actual hacking.
Reader Fiddle Castro has been doing his own amateur investigation and "hacked" his friend’s iPhone. He tells us: "It is so easy for anyone’s iCloud account to be hacked that I managed to find the answers to a friend’s account security questions within 30 minutes. From here, I could have easily accessed everything on his iCloud — which includes iMessages, contacts, images and videos."
He said of his methods: "Since he is my friend, I already knew one of the answers, but I searched online for this information, and it was publicly available — so anybody could have accessed it. Answers to both security questions were found on social media."
Answers to the old pet/school/teacher security questions are already out there for most of us, even if it means some "hacker" has to go to the effort of digging out and reading through our old MySpace accounts.
Reader Lucascott replied, asking if this really can be described as being Apple’s fault, asking: "Apple can’t prevent stupid passwords or easy to find security questions. You really want them to fix stupid?"
To which Me Fiddle replied with: "Nope, it’s the fact that Apple’s dumb security questions mean iCloud is VERY easy to hack. And THAT is Apple’s 100% fault."
How would you like it if I breathed your air?
And of course, any celebrity or nudity scandal has to make the Daily Mail, where reader JMD provided an unexpected voice of reason in response to someone suggesting the hacked celebs were "dumb" for using a piece of technology as it is supposed to be used.
JMD sensibly explained: "It doesn’t just apply to naked photos. Photos of your family, children, holidays, videos of the same. Are you dumb for storing them as well? Your email address, the one you use here and the passwords to go with it. We’re all encouraged to go ‘paperless’. Almost everything is done online. Banking, bills, shopping. Every single person who is connected to the internet can be a target and can be hacked and can be a victim of a crime."
And commenter Bonza Mate thinks no one should blame the hackees for being hacked, posting: "When did we start living in a world where the victim gets blamed for a crime being committed? Using your theory I could climb break into your house to steal your valuables. It would be your fault for keeping them in your house. How about I steal your car as you’ve left it outside?"