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Malusi Gigaba was using an iPhone during the period he suggested his phone was hacked and a sex tape was obtained, evidence from his Twitter timeline suggests.
Said sex tape, which you can read about in more detail here, has sent shock waves through South Africa’s social media circles when the minister of home affairs himself confirmed its validity on Sunday.
Interestingly though, during that same confession in which he apologised to the nation and his family, he revealed that the video was “illegally intercepted/my phone got hacked” between 2016 and 2017, or around 18 months ago.
Gigaba doesn’t say what phone he was using at the time, nor does he provide an exact date, but browing through tweets made between December 2016 and April 2017, he has only ever used one device to tweet during this period: an iPhone.
Third-party Twitter apps like Twidere, Hootsuite or even Tweetdeck, make note of how any given tweet was published to the social network. In Gigaba’s case, he used the “Twitter for iPhone” app.
It wouldn’t be farfetched to suggest that the minister has an additional phone, running an alternate OS, on which he conducts personal activities. A number of political figures globally have multiple devices. But, from an Apple security standpoint, it would be a notable claim to suggest that his iPhone was hacked.
It also wouldn’t be an isolated case either.
In 2014, in what is now known as Celebgate, a bevy of celebrity photographs were leaked to various internet forums. Apple however claimed that the incident was not caused by a breach in iCloud security — Apple’s encrypted cloud storage service — but rather a “very targeted attack” using the victims’ personal information.
“After more than 40 hours of investigation, we have discovered that certain celebrity accounts were compromised by a very targeted attack on user names, passwords and security questions, a practice that has become all too common on the internet,” the company stated in a release.
A piece by the now defunct Gawker suggested that a phising email, posing as official communication from Apple, was used to obtain login details from the celebrities.
A similar leak occured once more in 2017, with explicit images of Jennifer Lawrence, Kim Kardashian, and Kirsten Dunst published online.
Practically any individual can fall for phising emails online, but Gigaba hasn’t revealed much about the nature of his particular hack. He has however confirmed that he has hired private investigators to trace the source of the leak.
As for the motive, while the Celebgate hackers claimed to be collectors, and sold celebrity content for cash, Gigaba confirmed that his hacked data was used as blackmail. It was reportedly leaked by an opposition party leader too, Gigaba’s spokesperson confirmed on Monday.
Ultimately, the content of the video is shocking but largely irrelevant. Be it a penis or a birthday party, if it’s personal information that was stolen, as Gigaba claims, that’s a much more serious matter.
“I hope our nation will, someday, constructively engage with the question of whether it is correct to condone and promote the gross invasion of the privacy of others by distributing such material, more especially in the clear absence of a public interest justification,” the minister tweeted in a statement made on Saturday.
Feature image: Andy Walker/Memeburn