Female athletes hacked in 'reprehensible' naked photo leak

A female gymnast, pictured here in action on the beam.
Hundreds of female athletes have had their sensitive content leaked online. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)

Hundreds of female sports stars and celebrities have had naked photos and videos stolen and leaked online in a ‘reprehensible’ cyber attack.

On the same night as Manchester United were hacked by ‘organised criminals’, four British athletes had their explicit content stolen from their phones and posted online.

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The unnamed athletes are now considering their next move in an attempt to have the photos and videos removed from the internet.

“It really is difficult to know what to do next,” an agent of one of the athletes told The Times.

“The people who do this are sick.

“We have seen some very unpleasant cases, even where people have been blackmailed over [stolen] material.

“But it’s not easy to get a grip on the situation and go after them.

“It can take years to pursue, just to get it taken down from the internet. As a victim you have to decide if you want to go through it.”

One of the athletes reportedly had about 100 images stolen, while another had more than 30 pictures and videos leaked.

A spokesperson for the National Cyber Security Centre in the UK said the attack was “utterly reprehensible”.

“Accessing and then leaked people’s personal data is utterly reprehensible, and we would urge everyone to take steps to secure their online accounts,” they said.

“The NCSC recommends people turn on two-factor authentication where it’s available.

“We also recommend a strong password made up of three random words to reduce the likelihood of being hacked, and important accounts should use a unique password.

“The NCSC’s Cyber Aware website has actionable steps to stay secure.”

Police investigating Manchester United hack

Meanwhile, police say they are investigating the cyber attack against Manchester United.

The club confirmed the hack on Friday and said it was “not currently aware of any breach of personal data associated with our fans and customers”.

A Greater Manchester Police spokeswoman said: “We are aware and currently investigating a cyber-related incident at Manchester United Football Club.”

A club statement read: “Manchester United can confirm that the club has experienced a cyber attack on our systems.

“The club has taken swift action to contain the attack and is currently working with expert advisers to investigate the incident and minimise the ongoing IT disruption.

Manchester United's home ground at Old Trafford, pictured here in 2000.
A general view of the interior of Manchester United's home ground at Old Trafford. (Photo by John Peters/Manchester United via Getty Images)

“Although this is a sophisticated operation by organised cyber criminals, the club has extensive protocols and procedures in place for such an event and had rehearsed for this eventuality.

“Our cyber defences identified the attack and shut down affected systems to contain the damage and protect data.

“Club media channels, including our website and app, are unaffected and we are not currently aware of any breach of personal data associated with our fans and customers.

“We are confident that all critical systems required for matches to take place at Old Trafford remain secure and operational and that tomorrow's (Saturday) game against West Bromwich Albion will go ahead.”

A spokesman for United added: “These type of attacks are becoming more and more common and are something you have to rehearse for.”

with agencies

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