Hacking victim Gabrielle Union: since time began women & children were victimized

As Kaiser reported yesterday, a second round of celebrity women have been hacked with victims including Kim Kardashian, Rihanna, Hayden Panettiere, Meagan Good, Vanessa Hudgens, Ariana Grande, Hope Solo, Kate Bosworth, Lake Bell, Avril Lavigne, Leelee Sobieski, Emily Ratajkowski, Jenny McCarthy, Amber Heard and Abigail Spencer, among others. This news comes on the heels of Apple trying to reassure its customers that our data is so secure that they can’t even hand it over to the government. Unlike the last time celebrity women were hacked earlier this month, the celebrities’ private photos aren’t as easily accessible to the public. Reddit, a user-run community, has cracked down on leaked photos and is working to delete the offending posts as they come up. They’ve also banned certain subreddits, or sections of their site, that existed only to circulate the stolen photos.

One of the victims includes newlywed Gabrielle Union. Union is understandably outraged and issued a statement along with her husband, Dwyane Wade, about the breach. The couple makes it clear that these photos were meant for personal use and that it is a gross violation that they have been released. Union and Wade plan to contact the FBI about this. Here’s more, from TMZ:

Union and Wade released a joint statement saying, “it has come to our attention that our private moments, that were shared and deleted solely between my husband and myself, have been leaked by some vultures.”

They add, “I can’t help but to be reminded that since the dawn of time women and children, specifically women of color, have been victimized, and the power over their own bodies taken from them. These atrocities against women and children continue worldwide.”

Union and Wade add, “For anyone out there also being affected by these and other hacking and hate crimes – We send our love, support and prayers. We have done nothing wrong.”

[From TMZ]

I agree with them, they haven’t done anything wrong and they are absolutely victims. Last week we heard Congressional candidate Clay Aiken practically blame victims for the leak of their photos. He said “Anybody who takes inappropriate pictures of themselves deserves exactly what they get.” That’s like saying that people with money in their wallet deserve to get robbed. It’s a variation of the “asking for it” defense, and it’s gross.

TMZ claims that they’ve spoken to male celebrities, who are just as panicked as the females and are disconnecting their phones from iCloud. I doubt they have much to worry about. The hackers are targeting women and women alone, although some might take a stab at hacking men just for the thrill of it.

While I disagree with disproportionate prison sentences for hackers and especially for tech activists (although these are not activists by any means), I do think that people need to be prosecuted for hacking celebrities. I’m just not sure if the US government is capable of doing so in way that reasonably takes into account the extent of the crime. (That statement is of course not limited to these type of cases, nor is it limited to the US.)

Meanwhile it’s still unknown exactly how these celebrities were hacked. There are theories that they were all individually phished, or prompted by an official-looking email to enter their login details to a site that culled them for nefarious purposes. I really doubt that was the case. Prior to the earlier leak of photos, the Find My iPhone app allowed users an unlimited number of password guesses before an account would be locked. Hackers could run scripts that would try unlimited word combinations to exploit this vulnerability. Find My iPhone now limits password guesses to just three before disabled the account for further verification.

A model named Joy Corrigan is suing Apple over the breach. Corrigan claims that she contacted Apple twice to inform them that her photos were stolen from the cloud and that they told her each time that she was simply phished. This is similar to Apple’s official response to the earlier hacking scandal. They called it a “targeted attack” and denied that their systems had been breached. If hackers were able to get access to specific user accounts, their systems were breached.

Many of these celebrities are in long distance relationships because their work takes them away from home for weeks, if not months at a time. They’re sharing personal, intimate photos. They have an expectation of privacy, and the technology failed them.




Photo credit: WENN.com

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58 Responses to “Hacking victim Gabrielle Union: since time began women & children were victimized”

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  1. Kristin says:

    “Hmmm what do I do with all my hacking skills? …..I KNOW! I’ll find famous boobs!”

  2. Talie says:

    I have sympathy, but on the other hand, it’s hard for me to relate because I’ve never taken nudes. I’ve always been freaked out by how fragile technology is in regards to private moments… I even self-edit on Facebook pretty rigorously. I’m careful about anything I share.

    • aang says:

      This. Anyone who has an expectation of privacy in regards to things in the cloud is deluded. Hacking is too easy.

      • Jen34 says:

        I will go further. Anyone who has expectation of privacy regarding any type of technology that has access to the Internet is deluded.

      • Algernon says:

        If you lock your house before you leave but are robbed, it’s not your fault that you got robbed. It’s not because you have a nice house or own things other people covet. It’s because someone else decided to take something they had no right to, and they overcome your security system to do so.

        Hacking is no different than someone robbing your house. We are now *expected* to live our lives online. Our businesses, our banking, our personal records, everything is online now. Home Depot just confirmed a security breach of their payment system; if people have their identities compromised because of it, do we just tell them they shouldn’t have shopped at Home Depot? The whole point of a password-protected account is the belief that what is stored within it is *private*.

        Of course, people should be careful about their online security in the same way that they’re careful about their home security, but at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter what someone has stored in their cloud account. If that data is stolen, it’s because someone decided to take something that wasn’t theirs to take.

      • fairyvexed says:

        So is robbery. Yet somehow nobody EVER takes those victims to task for daring to trust the security of their wallet.

      • Jen34 says:

        I disagree with the robbery analogy. Robbery is a dangerous crime that requires planning, risk, daring, etc. Hacking is a crime committed from the safety of someone’s home. The risk is minimal. A person can actively protect themselves from a home robbery. It is difficult, or maybe even impossible, to protect yourself against hacking.

      • Algernon says:


        It’s impossible to protect yourself from home robbery, too. No matter how good your security, if someone wants inside your home badly enough, they’ll find a way. Same thing with hacking.

        And while hacking doesn’t require the same physical effort, it does take planning, patience and skill to pull off at this large a level. The FBI (and Interpol and other non-US agencies) track hackers just as closely as they do serial killers. Perhaps even more closely, because hackers pose a threat to financial markets and banking systems, air traffic control, and law enforcement communications. The cybercrimes unit in the FBI is now better funded than the serial killer task force. And the odds are higher that hacking will affect you directly than murder will. Nothing is ever wholly secure, but there’s no reason not to take these intrusions as anything other than completely serious and a potential threat to us all. Eventually, they’ll get bored of hacking celebrities and just start going for anyone who might have anything even remotely titillating on their phones/computers.

    • runCMC says:

      Spoken like someone who’s not in a long-distance relarionship!! I’m very careful about my privacy and share very little online-absolutely no private information on social media (not even my full name, etc). My boyfriend lives in Spain and I live in NYC and we share photos as a form of intimacy while we’re apart. I feel for these women- it’s hard enough to be apart and you do what you can to feel closer. Those moments are absolutely private and this whole situation sounds devastating.

    • Serenity says:

      I’ve never taken nude photos and I shut down my fb page ages ago but that not the point. If, for whatever reason, I did take nudes, I’d want them to remain private and not published for the world to see without my consent. I wonder why people victim blame? It’s their right to take pictures of their own bodies and send it to their partner/husband/bf/lover. But it’s definitely no one’s right to hack into their accounts and steal those personal photos!

      I like what Gabrielle Union says at the end of her statement – ‘We have done nothing wrong’. This is true, they haven’t done anything wrong and that sentence needs to be repeated until it sinks into people’s minds – that these women are not to blame for this.

      What’s happened to these women is an utter violation of their privacy and it sickens me. I say this with complete seriousness – this is a form of sexual assault.

      • aang says:

        No one said it was a right. They just said it is easy to do. The semantics of descriptive and prescriptive.

      • wolfpup says:

        Refrigerators and stoves, toasters, plumbing, cars, aircraft,and personal computers all break down.. Technology is man-created, and why is anyone assuming that it has the “power of god”, rather than the fallibility of man?

        It is wrong to steal, and we want to prosecute the perpetrators, but wouldn’t that actually be Apple & Cloud for not being “perfect”? There will always be slimy men, I’m afraid, and I see this issue as “don’t walk down the alley at night”.

        I was a little bothered by Gabrielle’s statement that women (and children) of color have always been been victimized. I love color and diversity, but I wish that colorful women would take a larger view of the slavery and racism, that has existed from the dawn of time. Slaves have been the spoils of war (from the dawn of time). I feel so much pity for the indignities of that, but she must remember that men as well, lost power over their bodies. It’s all about who has the big guns. It’s not personal, as it is *self-evident* that we are all endowed with unalienable rights. It is not personal – perpetrator’s just have more power.

      • Pandy says:

        @Wolfpup – finally, a comment on her statement about women and children of color not having control of their bodies. Women have never had control of their bodies – white, black, polka dot, etc. We have always been chattel. And she does have control of her body. Don’t take pix you wouldn’t want to see out in the public realm. Sorry, I don’t have a lot of sympathy. I do and I don’t. I wouldn’t take nudes for that reason – you never know where they will end up. And triply so if you are a celebrity! Obviously, your body, etc., but if you worry they might end up in the wrong hands, don’t take them. Let them hack your vacation shots instead.

    • delorb says:

      Not blaming the victim here, just commenting on technology. They did nothing wrong in taking and sharing their photos with loved ones:

      This is why I don’t subscribe to technology as soon as it becomes available. As soon as I heard that data could be stored somewhere else (in a cloud), I knew that wouldn’t be a good match for me.

      I mean, what if I needed to get that information and I forgot my password? Or what if the ‘cloud’ broke? What if other technology moved faster than the ‘cloud’ operators could handle (which seems to be the case here)? What if there was something the ‘cloud’ makers didn’t think of (again this seems to be the case)? What if the ‘cloud’ operators went out of business? What would happen to all my information? No, I’m almost never an early adopter. One runs the risk of buying a beta-max instead of VHS.

      The people who are doing this aren’t like the majority of us. I’ve found that thieves, get a huge laugh out of the suffering of others. Some will steal your stuff, then hang around just to see your reaction. Some people are sick like that. I bet they’re loving all this attention. But just let someone rob them, then its war. They have very little empathy or sympathy and therefore won’t ever stop until they’re caught.

      As for her words about women and children, while that’s true, I don’t think it applies here. One can’t equate leaked photos (however violated they feel) with the physical violations people have endured and continue to endure. I mean, one can, but I don’t think its equal.

  3. Tiffany27 says:

    These poor women. The hacker is probably some gross dude who hates women because they won’t date him.

  4. M.A.F. says:

    Yeah, I’m not sure why she is throwing children into the mix. If this case was about child pornography then I can see it. But this is about people hacking into another person’s phone and gathering information about their private life and then posting said information (or in this case, private photos). And this case isn’t about just one ethnic group being a target, it is about all women.

    • Tiffany :) says:

      If they sell info about naked women to horny men, what makes you think they won’t sell information about kids to predators? In each photo you take there is geo tracker information in the photo that gives exact location. We know that hackers are stealing nude photos from celebs, only because they are publicly posting them. They could just as easily steal and sell pictures of kids at home and at school to child predators.

    • Anna says:

      There were pictures of underaged girls leaked…

  5. Annie says:

    Either nudes will become a thing of the past because of this, or we’ll have this sort of leaks all the time now. This is a basic confirmation that privacy doesn’t exist in the technology world, in case people were not paying attention to Edward Snowden. If our credit card numbers are not safe, our private moments are not either, especially if they’re sexy moments. Snowden mentioned this. NSA guys look, keep and trade sexy pictures of unknowing girls between them. Apple, AT&T guys have access to celebrities’ accounts and e-mails. That’s the basic info needed to know the accounts to start hacking them. It probably started as an inside job from hackers who work at these companies. And it’s not just ONE guy. It’s a group who knows very well what they’re doing. And they probably hack tons of not famous women too. They only post the famous girls online. So be careful!

    Everyone needs to know that cloud or no cloud, your information is not safe. Now that you understand this, whatever you do should be at your own risk. Don’t be too trusting. Be careful. Read your devices TOS. The cloud basically has the rights to all your pictures.

    Celebrity scandal aside, this affects us all. People can actually snoop through our phones. Privacy doesn’t exist anymore. This is our problem too. They can see you too.

    • Tiffany :) says:

      “They can see you too. ”

      This is so important! Frankly, I am tired of the comments from people who say they don’t take nude photos so they aren’t vulnerable. Much like the beauty pageant contestant that was being photographed remotely from her laptop without her knowledge or consent, we are all vulnerable in different ways. Also, it isn’t just naked bodies that have value to a hacker.

    • LAK says:

      Never going to happen. Naked pictures (or people being voyeurs) have been leaked or stolen for decades, if not centuries.

      Even when there was no internet, people stole naked pics or video – remember Pam Anderson’s stolen sex tape in the 90s? Long before the internet.

      As for Edward Snowden, unless people are living under a rock, there is nothing new in what he says. Governments/spies/people spying on their own population has been a thing since the dawn of human civilisation.

      Perhaps because it’s not so blatantly done in USA, people are more careless because they don’t realise that it’s happening plus they have accepted a system where all one’s personal information – banks, medical records, employment, etc, is in one place and therefore easily found.

      People who’ve lived in repressive regimes aren’t so careless. They live with the assumption that they are being spied on either physically or via the internet and so aren’t so open to sharing personal information or even keeping it in one place.

  6. mmmcupcakes says:

    I havet no sympathy for celebs using FBI time for leaked dumb photos. FBI would not help a girl from let’s say Nebraska if that shit happend to her. But now that celebs are violated everyone feels sorry for them and by having money using FBI and their precious time they would have.to let’s say catch a preditor etc. Shit happens to normal ppl shit happens to celebs.

    • Bridget says:

      So this isn’t a real crime to you? Law enforcement definitely gets involved when non-famous people are violated like this.

      • mmmcupcakes says:

        No and no they don’t waste FBI time on a regular matter like this for the little person. The police might. In what world do you live in? there’s rape and murder cases the FBI refused to take on, but when celebs complain its a real crime all the sudden.

      • Annie says:

        Not really. The FBI can barely keep track of child pornography rings. They certainly don’t go out of their way to see who is hacking Debbie Sue from Little Rock. Credit cards are cloned left and right. No one is stopping those hackers.

        Totally not cool how celebrities snap their fingers and have government officials investigating and wasting time. How about learn how technology works and be aware of how vulnerable you are to hacking. In the end, taking nudes is not smart. Pamela Anderson and Paris Hilton had their stuff leaked and it wasn’t even on computers. It’s a stupid thing to do to have such compromising material out there.

      • Tiffany :) says:

        The FBI has broken records with their child p0rn arrests, but they are not the appropriate resource to be used for all crimes.

    • Renee28 says:

      That’s what annoying about this whole thing. People are hacked all day every day and no ones cares but when it happens to celebs people are outraged. My friend was just hacked and had a bunch of info stolen. She was told to file a police report and change her accounts. That’s it. She didn’t get any help and certainly not from the FBI.

      • mmmcupcakes says:


      • Tiffany :) says:

        But you see how this is different, right?
        What happened to your friend was a single incident. It might be one hacker at home, and there isn’t evidence that it was a part of a larger group effort.

        What happened with this celebs was a group of hackers from a variety of places went after a group of people in a variety of places. The jurisdiction issues, the “conspiracy” aspect, the possibility and likelihood that money or goods were traded across states makes this more of an FBI issue than what your friend experienced. That is also why the Target hack etc. gets FBI help. It is the scope and nature of the crime that send it to the FBI.

        The differences are far greater than just celeb vs. normal person.

    • T.C. says:

      Actually the FBI as part of their jobs investigate cyber crimes against normal people all the time.

    • Gabby says:

      Ha. Actually, Gabrielle Union *is* from Nebraska.

    • Tiffany :) says:

      I think the BIG difference here, is that there is a lot of evidence of a conspiracy/organized effort to hack all of these celebs over a period of time. While it might not be appropriate for the FBI to investigate one person’s hacked photos, it would be appropriate for them to look into an organized effort, especially one that crossed state lines or where one hacker paid another, etc.

      • Kate says:

        Exactly. I was hacked a few years ago (not for nudes but for personal info), and the hacking seemed to be linked to hundreds of other similar cases, so it was investigated by the FBI.

        When regular people have nude photo’s stolen and shared, it’s usually by someone who knows them eg. an ex. They’re rarely ‘hacked’ in the proper sense, just taken advantage of by someone who knows their passwords or has access to their unlocked devices.

      • Tiffany :) says:

        Great example, Kate. In order for the FBI to get involved, I think it has to be a part of a larger, more systematic and organized crime effort.

  7. T.C. says:

    Hacking private photos of women will never be taken serious until men become victims too. I ‘m sure some of these hackers also have naked pics of underage girls.

    Apple is ridiculous, such balls to come out with Apple Pay a few weeks after we find out there is weakness in their system that allows it to be hacked. Let’s see the response when people’s credit cards and bank accounts are broken into.

    • tifzlan says:

      They do. The first round of leaks included Makayla Maroney’s pictures, which she took when she was underage.

    • KC says:

      But TC this isn’t Apple’s fault. This was not a breach on their part. In fact after the last non-Apple related breach Kim Kardashian even stated that she doesn’t have an iCloud account. So obviously this hacking had nothing to do with Apple.

      The testimony of the pure, spotless bastion of honourable honesty that is Kim Kardashian confirms their denial. Their integrity can be staked on her good and always true word……

  8. Birdix says:

    I hesitate here, because I don’t want to imply this is in any way the victim’s fault, but that last sentence made me pause. Even my kids know that nothing online is private (email or Internet). Do you think this is true–that people can’t truly expect anything to be private that is sent via text, email, etc? Spin-off idea: what if the hacker turned out to be a bored gov’t/NSA staffer?

  9. Sarah says:

    Am I the only one who thinks some of these women might be “leaking” their own photos? Gabrielle Union isn’t a big deal by any stretch of the imagination, but perhaps she wants to be thought of in the same way, for example???? Just an example. And KimK being mad about nudes after she’s posed nude and released a sex tape is rather laughable.

    • Birdix says:

      No, I strongly disagree with this. There are outlets if they want to explore that option. This is about someone demonstrating their power over these women as much as it is about the actual photos.

    • Kate says:

      Here’s the thing. All these photo’s are being leaked at the same time by the same people in the same places. So for that argument to work Kim K and so on are either the ones leaking ALL the photo’s, or they’ve somehow found out who’s doing the leaking, tracked them down and gotten their photo’s to them. Which would put them one step ahead of the FBI.

      If random nudes of Kim K or Gabrielle had shown up a day after this latest leak on one of the usual celeb leak sites, then yeah, that would be totally suspicious. But they’ve been released with all the others.

  10. Lori says:

    I think Gabrielle sounds especially sensitive in her statement because she is a rape survivor. She’s publically discussed being raped during a break in at her work when she was a teenager. So perhaps this violation is bringing some of that up for her.
    I’m mostly not commenting on the hacking because while I do have sympathy for those whose privacy have been invaded, I’m still surprised they thought that privacy existed in this format. Phone hacking has been a problem in the celebrity circle for ever. Aren’t they having trials about this in the UK right now? So while I don’t think poorly for anyone sharing nude photos with their lover, passing them back and forth on a cell phone seems careless.

    • notsoanonymous says:

      I completely agree based on her background, and I scrolled through this comment thread to see if anyone else had already brought this back to light.

  11. Wallflower says:

    Sorry, I don’t care what anyone’s defense is in regards to the women bringing this on themselves by taking nude pictures or having posed nude before ‘at will’. The distribution of these women’s naked bodies were not done ‘at will’, and is a violation of their human rights. I think these acts are despicable and remind me of human trafficking in the sense that these women have no full control over who views them and how many people view them. This is outrageous. It is high time that our government step in to say that “we as a country will not allow our female citizens to be subjected to such harassments.” I believe that Apple ought to be penalized for deceiving their customers into believing that they had a more “secure safety net” by purchasing Apple products. Apple needs to be forced to admit to the safety breach on their end and provide a better system for their users or be fined. Hackers should be brought to justice and charged accordingly. This is a sad situation. I know that celebrities are dehumanized so much by our culture, but they are people just like you and me and deserve to be treated with the common decency and respect.

    • Serenity says:

      Thanks for this post, Wallflower. I’ve posted something similar upthread.

      Enough victim blaming. Go after the perpetrators. This is a form of sexual assault/harassment. I feel for these celebrities too and this has got me thinking of other non-famous women out there who must have had their photos hacked or posted up by vengeful ex’s……I just hope they have a good support system to deal with it and that the police respond to them equally.

      • Wallflower says:

        I totally agree. I think the problem here shouldn’t be that the FBI wouldn’t help less wealthier citizens or citizens without fame, so let’s bash these celebs for being helped by the FBI to bring these hackers to justice. The question should be: “How do we get the FBI to pay attention to cases of mass hacking involving photos of nude persons in order to bring more hackers to justice?” I think the reason that this was pursued by the FBI was because the case is just that “so massive,” meaning involving a lot of celeb women. Also, I know that some are upset by Gab Union’s black washing of this situation, but we all know that a lot of celebs aren’t smart. Further dividing this injustice done to women by color lines just adds insult to injury whether this was intentional or not, so she should apologize for that statement. As far as her saying that children have been violated in history, this is true and also this was so in the hacking case because there were reports saying that one of the celebs may have been underage and this is the reason that I believe the FBI got involved in the first place.

  12. Jaana says:

    Clay needs to just stop talking. Ugh. None of the women deserve their privacy to be violated like this, its gross. Now I feel like getting off social media all together, I got an email from my email company saying someone signed into my account from Russia. I had to change all my passwords and everything. Its frustrating I cant even imagine how they feel.

    • LAK says:

      Are you sure the email came from your email company? That’s one of the ways hackers get people’s information. You receive an email from a service company that looks legit, but is not, which either requests you to repeat your passwords or tells you you’ve been hacked and you need to change your passwords.

  13. Juliette says:

    I think these hackers are jerks and none of these woman should be violated in this way, it’s disgusting. That being said, I can’t understand the need to see people’s naked bodies.

    I mean, I’m naive for sure but they are just boobs! We all have them, some big some small.

    The frenzy over looking at boobs and some cooch is so dumb. If you’ve seen one, you’ve seen them all. People need to get a grip.

  14. Misstee says:

    ‘I can’t help but to be reminded that since the dawn of time women and children, specifically women of color’

    Im not down with this – don’t bring up children when that’s a separate issue and dont blackwash the situation – women of ALL colour have been treated like dirt for centuries – the current human trafficking market is for eastern European white women and Asian women…

  15. Nene says:

    This is so terrible. I think in this day of social media where any news,pictures or info can go viral in nano-seconds, the government should make hacking a federal case in the leagues of domestic violence, rape, child abuse,etc.
    I mean, this is a form of abuse on it’s own, it stays with the victims for a looong time cos it’s a violation of their right,privacy,freedom and bodies(albeit not physically but the effect is the same).
    Until very strict laws and punishment are put for hacking crimes and the offenders respectively, then am afraid the end of this isn’t near. It’s unfortunate that some humans can’t learn unless by the hard way.
    So I believe as far as hackers are concerned,the hard way is the only way.

    On another note, and in my honest opinion Apple is over-rated.

  16. mar says:

    Gabby thinks she is way more interesting then she really is

  17. kcarp says:

    Anyone remember those pics of Clay Aiken that were leaked? This is was like 10 years ago but he would pick up guys in chat rooms and then send them a web cam pic?

    If I was him I wouldn’t comment on this.

    • GirlyGirl says:

      I think Clay Aiken will comment every time someone shoves a mic in front of him.

      Downside, he’s an idiot – Upside, it keeps him from singing.

  18. WTF says:

    I feel sorry for all of the hacking victims.
    Can I just say though that I am really starting to dislike Gabrielle Union. Every interview she gives, every statement she makes… she just seems tedious and exhausting.