FBI investigates nude pic hackers

The leak has raised questions about the safety of storing sensitive information on Apple’s iCloud service.

FILE: Actress Jennifer Lawrence attends the ‘X-Men: Days Of Future Past’ world premiere at Jacob Javits Center on 10 May, 2014 in New York City. Picture: AFP.

JOHANNESBURG - The FBI and Apple are investigating a hacker who is apparently 'on the run' after leaking dozens of nude selfies of celebrities Jennifer Lawrence and Kate Upton.

Pictures of Lawrence (24) who won an Academy Award for Silver Linings Playbook and stars in The Hunger Games movie franchise, began appearing online on Sunday and have been traded on the internet for the last week.

_ The Independent_ has also reported that the hacker claims to have a film of the actress, allegedly performing a sex act.

"I know no one will believe me, but i have a short Lawrence video," wrote the hacker.

"It's way too short, a little over two minutes and you only get to see her boobs.

"Anyways, if somebody wants it let me know how I can upload it anonymously [I don't want the FBI over me, and you don't wanna know how I got this video]."

The hacker said he would be relocating, thanking his 'supporters' who apparently shared the images on AnonIB before they were reposted, on forum 4chan on Sunday.

"This is a flagrant violation of privacy. The authorities have been contacted and will prosecute anyone who posts the stolen photos of Jennifer Lawrence," spokeswoman Liz Mahoney said in an emailed statement. She did not say who was contacted.

The Mail Online reported the hacker, who is referred to by other posters as the 'original guy', appeared to confirm that the hacking was a conspiracy involving more than just one individual and 'the result of several months of long and hard work'.

The uploader said the photos had generated $120 in bitcoin, a digital currency, but added: "I really didn't get close to what I was hoping."

A spokesman for the FBI 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. Any further comment would be inappropriate at this time."

The pictures, which were allegedly accessed from an iCloud account, have raised questions about the prospect that Apple's iCloud service, used by millions, is not safe for anyone to store sensitive information on.

Apple however, hasn't yet confirmed whether the pictures were indeed taken from an iCloud account.

Apple spokeswoman Nat Kerris said in an email: "We take user privacy very seriously and are actively investigating this report."

It is still unclear exactly how the attack took place or where the images were taken from.

The hacker also claims to have explicit pictures of more than 100 other celebs including Rihanna, Kelly Brook, Cat Deeley and Kim Kardashian.

Another victim, 29-year-old US actress Mary Elizabeth Winstead who starred in Scott Pilgrim vs the World, took to Twitter to express her disgust after nude pictures of her were leaked.

She said the photos had long been deleted.

Additional reporting by Reuters