The FBI confirmed on Monday that it has joined a hunt for the hacker or hackers who leaked hundreds of revealing images online of Hollywood actresses in what appears to be a breach of celebrity iCloud accounts.
"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," said Laura Eimiller, spokesperson for the FBI in Los Angeles. "Any further comment would be inappropriate at this time.
The problem emerged Sunday, when a search for Jennifer Lawrence, Kate Upton or related hash tags on Twitter yielded hundreds of retweets of several nude or near-nude images.
"This is a flagrant violation of privacy," a spokesperson for "The Hunger Games" star Lawrence said in a statement Sunday. "The authorities have been contacted and will prosecute anyone who posts the stolen photos of Jennifer Lawrence."
The hacker behind the stolen photos first posted them on the image-based online bulletin board 4chan, according to BuzzFeed. How or from where the pictures were obtained remained unclear on Monday.
In 2012, Christopher Chaney, 36, of Jacksonville, Fla., was sentenced to 10 years in prison for hacking into the email accounts of more than 50 people in the entertainment industry in order to gain access to nude photos and private information.
Chaney, who was arrested after an FBI investigation dubbed Operation Hackerazzi, said that he hacked into the accounts of film star Scarlett Johansson and other celebrities because he was addicted to spying on their personal lives.