Jennifer Lawrence

Last night actress Jennifer Lawrence was the focal point of an enormous leak of nude photographs hacked from the phones of various celebrities.

More than 100 pictures were uploaded to the web showing Lawrence and numerous other actresses and models, including Kate Upton, Kim Kardashian, Kirsten Dunst and Rihanna.

A representative of Lawrence issued a statement to The Hollywood Reporter saying: "This is a flagrant violation of privacy. The authorities have been contacted and will prosecute anyone who posts the stolen photos of Jennifer Lawrence."

The unprecedented breach of privacy started on online forum 4chan before spreading across the web through sites like Reddit and Imgur. A list of all the celebrities involved – more than 60 in total - was posted before being removed from the site.

A number of the affected celebrities have responded to the leak. Victoria Justice has denied that they are real while Mary Elizabeth Winstead has conceded that they are.

Reports have indicated that the files were accessed by a hacker through their iCloud accounts but this has yet to be confirmed.

A number of websites have posted the photographs either in full or partially censored, but many have since taken them down. Gossip-monger Perez Hilton was one of those to post the pictures, but he has since apologised, saying on Twitter "I acted in haste just to get the post up and didn't really think things through. I'm sorry."