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Celebrity photo breach heightens online security warnings

By Jeffrey Dastin, Michael Parks, Patricia Reaney and Eric Kelsey

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Celebrity representatives and security experts used the online posting of intimate photos of Oscar-winning actress Jennifer Lawrence and other female entertainers to sound new warnings on Tuesday about the dangers of storing data on the Internet.

Martin Garbus, a New York trial lawyer who over the years has represented actors Al Pacino, Sean Connery, Robert Redford and others, said worried clients had approached him after the apparent mass hacking over the weekend.

"Nothing is safe on the Internet, period," he told Reuters. "Everything on your iPhone, whether it be phone calls, message texts, pictures, is all available."

Garbus said clients started to contact him after intimate photos of Lawrence, a star of "The Hunger Games" movie franchise and a best actress Academy Award winner for "Silver Linings Playbook," and other high-profile women came to public attention on Sunday.

Personal photos of Sports Illustrated swimsuit model Kate Upton and American actress Mary Elizabeth Winstead were also posted on the image-sharing forum 4Chan.

Apple Inc has said it is investigating reports that its iCloud, which stores data online rather than on a user's device, had apparently been hacked.

"This is just one of a series of wake-up calls that people are ignoring," said Chris Crowleigh, a cyber-security expert specializing in mobile devices at the SANS Institute.

"People just sort of implicitly accept the risk of storing their data on the cloud until they actually see something bad happen to someone they can relate to."

Lawrence's representative described the release of the photos as a "flagrant violation of privacy" and said the authorities have been contacted. A spokesman for the FBI said the agency is addressing the matter.

Celebrities took to Twitter to characterize the alleged hacking, purportedly targeting dozens of female actresses, models and athletes, as less of a privacy invasion than an act of sexual aggression.

"Remember, when you look at these pictures you are violating these women again and again. It's not okay," said actress Lena Dunham.

Garbus said he was not surprised by the hacking because he said he has seen it in the past.

"There are just so many different ways that one's privacy can be invaded," he added.

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