The leak has quickly become dubbed the “iCloud hack” in the media, and Apple has acknowledged that some of the photos have been taken from the iCloud storage service.
But the company said the celebrities in question had their accounts breached through targeted phishing attacks, Bloombergreported.
The iCloud security protocols were not compromized, according to the company. Apple is working with law enforcement to help track down the culprits.
Some pundits have meanwhile been presenting possible alternative explanations for the leak. At least two speculate that the celebrities may have been hacked while connected to an open Wi-Fi network at the Emmy Awards.
Other theories being floated include insiders such as personal assistants conspiring to make money from stealing and selling the images, and a stolen laptop or phone belonging to a well-connected celebrity serving as the catalyst for the breaches.