Normally I couldn’t give two hoots about a scandal like this but the amount of wrong information hitting the airwaves at the moment is just irritating.
First off, 4chan is not the name of the hacker who did this. 4chan isn’t the name of any hacker it’s the name of a website where people go to hang out and chat and sometimes share interesting or amusing pictures. It’s lightly moderated so there is nudity there. Don’t go checking their site from work and if you aren’t in work, make sure you are old enough to drink in the state or county you are in. If you are not, maybe you shouldn’t be on 4chan.
Next, “a hacker breached the iCloud accounts of dozens of famous and attractive actresses”. No. There is no search string and no database query in the world which will dump out nude pictures of famous actresses and nothing else. If he had completely taken over iCloud and run a database query like the below it would have blinked back at him.
SELECT * from IMAGES where IMAGE is “nude” and owner is “Hot” and “Famous”
Or to be honest it would have said “Syntax Error”, because the above is syntactically incorrect.
So if a hacker, whose name isn’t 4chan, lets call him fake4chan for now, didn’t takeover the accounts of dozens of stunning actors. What did he do?
Long ago, before Napster, there were really only two ways of getting music for free. Record it off the radio, or if you had access to the internet, find a thing called a file server. Some file servers were open but most of the good ones required you to upload some fresh content to prove you were worthy of joining the group. The content had to be fresh, the tracks couldn’t already exist on the file share, which meant if they already had all your CDs you had to find somewhere else, or spend a Saturday ripping your Moms Garth Brooks collection onto your computer and praying they had a Garth Brooks fan in the group.
File Server Admin: “Oh wow, this is Garth Live in Dublin (1994). We don’t have that. You’re in!
Today, there are still file servers and there are still people who try to get onto them, but lets face it, free music is not hard to get any more, nor is free porn, nor free books. The only thing you can’t get is a free car, and once every home has its own 3D printer, that will change I promise you. So what do people on these file servers trade and where are they? Well, similarly to the train spotters of yesteryear searching for a picture of a blue Flying Scotsman, they still look for very specific things. Few things are more specific than pictures of a specific model/actress in the buff when you don’t know whether such a thing even exists.
Where are these file servers? They’re on the Deep Web. Whats the Deep Web? Go watch House of Cards, it has everything you need to know about the Deep Web.
Ok, so we know about file servers and we get people like to trade things online and we understand dumping nude pictures out of iCloud is hard, harder still when its not been proved all the actresses he published have iCloud accounts, what’s that got to do with the elite hacker fake4chan?
Well I propose this theory: fake4chan didn’t take over iCloud in its entirety and dump out all the hot actresses images. Instead, he took over one account, got access to a file share on the Deep Web that contained many more, snarfed them as well, and then wanted to show how elite he is to the world and maybe make some money on the side by trying to blackmail some of the poor actresses.
Taking over one iCloud account is difficult but doable if one is sufficiently motivated. Taking over 17, is unlikely, especially when all the accounts belong to the rich, famous and hot.