The hacker accused of breaching several Celebrity Google and Apple accounts, and leaking private (mostly nude photos) has been sentenced to 18 months in prison.
A judge sentenced a Pennsylvania man in the aptly named “Celebgate” hacking case. Celebgate involved the hacking of celebrity iCloud and Google accounts as well as the leaking of nude photos onto the internet–every cyber-nerd’s dream come true. It’s been dubbed “The Fappening”, due to the amount of nude celebrity photos that were leaked.
36-year-old Ryan Collins admitted earlier this year to tricking over 100 celebs into giving up login information to their iCloud, and Gmail accounts. The targets, mainly female, willingly supplied the information requested, and Collins was able to access all of their private photos.
The Department of Justice stated that Collins engaged in a sophisticated phishing scheme between 2012 and late 2014, around the time of the nude pictures surfacing on the internet.
Collin was sentenced after he entered his guilty plea to violating a federal statute that does not allow one to obtain information through unauthorized access to a protected computer. The DOJ also commented that in some, but not all of the cases, Collins used some kind of software to download the victims iCloud accounts.
Deirdre Fike, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI Los Angeles Field Office said:
The defendant intruded into the online accounts of hundreds of victims and in doing so, intruded upon their lives, causing lasting distress. The prison sentence received by Mr. Collins is proof that hacking into the accounts of others and stealing private information or images is a crime with serious consequences.
During the entire investigation, the FBI was searching for evidence that Collins was responsible for the distribution of the photos across the internet, but came up empty handed. This summer the FBI charged a second man, Edward Majerczy from Illinois, with similar charges that Collins faced. In his hacking efforts Collins managed to get into at least 50 iCloud accounts and 72 Gmail accounts. The hack allerts users to take additional security measures such as a two-factor authentication, and to be very careful when they disclose their log in information to any request, no matter how legitimate the sender seems to be.
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