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By Andrew Khouri, Los Angeles Times

The FBI and Apple Inc. said they were looking into reports that someone stole nude photos of celebrities and posted the racy images online.

The photos, which included several of actress Jennifer Lawrence, circulated on various websites and social media platforms Sunday. A publicist for The Hunger Games star called the published photos a “flagrant violation of privacy.”

The photos first surfaced on the image-based online bulletin board 4chan, according to BuzzFeed.

Apple said Monday in a statement that it was “actively investigating” reports that the photos were stolen from its iCloud service. Apple did not say whether its service, or celebrity iCloud accounts, were breached.

“We take user privacy very seriously,” Apple spokeswoman Nat Kerris said.

The FBI confirmed Monday that it was aware of the hacking allegations and was “addressing the matter.” The agency declined to comment further.

Although Lawrence’s publicist said the photos of the star were stolen, other celebrities, including actress Victoria Justice, said the photos of her were fake.

It remained unclear how the photos were obtained.

In 2012, Christopher Chaney, 36, of Jacksonville, Fla., was sentenced to 10 years in prison for hacking into the email accounts of more than 50 people in the entertainment industry to gain access to nude photos and private information.

Chaney’s victims included Mila Kunis, Scarlett Johansson and Christina Aguilera.

Chaney admitted taking their email addresses, clicking on the “Forgot your password” feature and then resetting the passwords by correctly answering security questions using information he found by searching the Internet.

AFP Photo/Mike Coppola

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