The Daily Mail cited anonymous posters from 4chan and Deadspin who stated that a ring of hackers, traders, and sellers had been operating for months leading up to the mass release. The images were obtained via the online storage offered by Apple's iCloud platform for automatically backing up photos from iOS devices, such as iPhone smartphones.
Apple later reported that the victims' iCloud account information was obtained using "a very targeted attack on user names, passwords and security questions", such as phishing and brute-force guessing, rather than any specific vulnerability in the iCloud service itself.
It was initially believed that the images were obtained using an exploit in the Find My iPhone service.
Ingrid Michaelson hacked photos 2014
Nina Dobrev hacked photos 2014
Erin Heatherton hacked photos 2014
AnnaLynne McCord hacked photos 2014
See Vanessa Hudgens leaked photos 2014
Celebrity leaked photos Jennifer Lawrence
See Amber Heard leaked photos 2014
See Rihanna leaked photos 2014
See Kaley Cuoco leaked photos 2014
On October 1, 2014, Google was threatened with a lawsuit by lawyer Martin Singer for $100 million on behalf of unnamed victims of the leaks, alleging that Google had refused to respond to requests for the images to be removed from its platforms (including Blogger and YouTube), " to act expeditiously, and responsibly to remove the images", and "knowingly accommodating, facilitating, and perpetuating the unlawful conduct".
On September 20, 2014, a second batch of similar private photos of additional celebrities was leaked by hackers. Less than a week later, on September 26, even more private photos of various celebrities were leaked by hackers, which was dubbed as the "Fappening 3".
On October 5, 2014, the fourth round hit Nick Hogan, the son of ex-wrestler Hulk Hogan.