Scarlett Johansson made headlines last week when nude pictures stolen from her phone were leaked onto the internet leading to her taking legal action against her offenders.
Other actresses Jessica Alba, Vanessa Hudgens and Blake Lively have also supposedly had their phones hacked and pictures stolen.
But how does a hacker gain access to a celebrity’s phone?
Tech website Gizmodo recently looked into this matter and demonstrated ways on how this could happen.
The website states: “There’s about as many ways to skim a phone as there are to skin a ginger seal.”
Scarlett Johansson could have granted a hacker access to her private pictures by clicking on a malicious link on her phone. Sometimes an email can appear to be from someone you know when it really is forged by a hacker. By following its link to a site the user is putting their phone in danger of being hacked.
By clicking on that link a user could invite a Trojan horse onto their device which could command the smartphone to perform actions it would not do normally, like sending pictures to unknown addresses, according to Gabriel Landau, an analyst at Independent Security Evaluators.
Instead of performing what appeared to the user as a desired activity, they were persuaded into inviting a malicious file capable of adding a code to the devices web browser and OS which leads to hackers accessing files on the smartphone.
It does not end there.
Landau continues to explain to Gizmodo that a website-delivered program such as this one could even trace the owner of the smartphone’s location and even record with the devices camera and microphone.
But this is not such a simple task for the hacker since it requires more infiltration skills.
A forged email header and a guess of a low level security question would not be enough to give the hacker that kind of access, according to Landau.
Experts suspect that someone most likely broke into an online service that Scarlett Johansson was using to store pictures, not the phone itself.
While sending someone else the pictures, or using a photo syncing service such as a cloud for sharing, a compromised password or security question guess could have granted a hacker access to the actresses property.
These file syncing services are making it easier for hackers to gain access to other people’s property, according to Landau.