Emma Watson
Last year, Watson successfully got explicit images of her removed from a website called Celeb Jihad via legal action Reuters

Speculation is mounting in the gossip corners of the internet that Emma Watson, the star of Harry Potter and Beauty and the Beast, has been caught up in another nude photo scandal.

The Telegraph, which first reported the rumours in the mainstream press, said the actor's private photographs had been hacked, citing sources on Twitter and Reddit.

Indeed, on 15 March, a series of Reddit posts emerged discussing the alleged nude images.

The apparent source of the pictures – which IBTimes UK is not linking to due to privacy concerns – claimed that more "nudes of various celebrities" are expected to leak in the coming days.

The Telegraph reported the photographs were said to be circulating on social media, the dark web and 4chan, the latter of which is a notorious online messageboard that hosted 2014's "The Fappening", a name given to a huge batch of stolen nude images of celebrities and actors.

Alongside Watson, who was included in the previous leak three years ago, "Mean Girls" actor Amanda Seyfried is allegedly also implicated in the fresh batch.

The UK newspaper quoted one Reddit user who said: "There may be a few more names added to that list but these are the big two. Don't want to break any Reddit rules so no links right now but there should be some really good drama over the next few days."

Last year, Watson successfully got explicit images of her removed from a website called Celeb Jihad via legal action. Most recently, the actor faced criticism after she was pictured braless for a Vanity Fair photoshoot. Watson said she was "quietly stunned" by the reaction.

And it's not the first time Watson has been caught up in speculation over naked images. In 2014, a website called "EmmaYouAreNext" hit the web promising explicit pictures of the Hollywood star.

Later, it emerged this was a marketing firm scheme that was bolstered by attention from 4chan. At the time, Watson tweeted: "Even worse than seeing women's privacy violated on social media is reading the accompanying comments that show such a lack of empathy."

It remains unclear how legitimate this fresh round of speculation is and the source of the alleged leak remains a mystery.

The previous "Fappening" incident was blamed on weak security on iCloud accounts, which are often used to store images and documents. In October last year, the 36-year-old hacker, named Ryan Collins, was jailed for 18 months for breaking into over 100 Google and Apple profiles.

In this case, the photos – if real – now appear to be circulating on the internet. One journalist, an editor for website The Moscow Times, tweeted on 15 March that links to the images were being shared and circulated by a Russian blogger.