The week before a crucial launch of its new iPhone, Apple Inc said intimate photos of celebrities including Oscar-winner Jennifer Lawrence were leaked online through the apparent hacking of individual iCloud accounts.

Apple rushed to restore confidence in its systems' security, saying the celebrity photo scandal that also ensnared swimsuit model Kate Upton, actress Kirsten Dunst and possibly dozens more was the result of targeted attacks on accounts storing personal data and not a direct breach of Apple systems.

"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," Apple said in a statement.

"None of the cases we have investigated has resulted from any breach in any of Apple's systems including iCloud or Find My iPhone."