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iCloud hacking scandal sees naked photos of A-list celebrities leaked on 4chan

A swathe of nude and explicit photos of A-list celebrities have been leaked on 4chan in a mass hacking scandal.

For the uninitiated, 4chan is an image-based website where users can anonymously post photos and videos, as well as comment on the posts of others without registering. Photos of over 100 stars have been leaked onto its forums, including those of Cara Delevigne, Kim Kardashian and (much to the Internet's delight) Hunger Games star Jennifer Lawrence.

Worryingly, the images were allegedly stolen through a mass hack of Apple's iCloud. The photos were then posted on 4chan as tasters for more "explicit material" that would be made available through bitcoin payments.

Despite the wide range of this privacy-invading attack, Buzzfeed kick started the fascination du jour with Jennifer Lawrence's images by singling her out in its report on Sunday.

"The hacker on 4chan is also claiming to have explicit videos of Lawrence, and claims to have over 60 nude selfies of the Oscar-winning actress," it said.

Read more: Hacker exposes passenger air planes to cyber attack through Wi-Fi signals

Lawrence's publicist swiftly stepped in to stem the tirade of interest in the young actress's private life. "This is a flagrant violation of privacy," she said. "The authorities have been contacted and will prosecute anyone who posts the stolen photos of Jennifer Lawrence."

The most concerning violation of privacy comes from Mary Elizabeth Winstead, star of A Good Day to Die Hard. She acknowledged that the leaked photos were of her, but says that they were deleted from her computer. Clearly, the hackers delved deep into their victims' virtual records.

"To those of you looking at photos I took with my husband years ago in the privacy of our home, hope you feel great about yourselves," she tweeted.

"Knowing those photos were deleted long ago, I can only imagine the creepy effort that went into this. Feeling for everyone who got hacked."

Sadly, by speaking out against the hackers and anyone who went in pursuit of the images, Winstead was subject to a tirade of Twitter abuse.

She sent a final Tweet shortly after "Going on an internet break. Feel free to my @'s for a glimpse of what it's like to be a woman who speaks up about anything on Twitter."