Officials have announced that the hacker who stole nude photos of female celebrities in 2014 has now been sentenced to 18 months in a federal prison.
36-year-old Ryan Collins from Pennsylvania plead guilty to federal hacking charges after engaging in a two-year phishing scam. Collins managed to gather the passwords of over 600 people, including celebrities like Jennifer Lawrence, Kate Upton, Scarlett Johansson among several others.
Purporting to represent Apple and Google, Collins tricked celebrities into handing over their credentials – usernames and passwords. Once he gained those credentials, Collins stole his victims’ personal information – including nude photos – from several celebrities.
While Collins was charged with accessing photos between 2012 and 2014, resulting in the widely-known ‘Celebgate’ scandal.
Prosecuting attorney Bruce Brandler said in a statement:
In some instances, Collins would use a software program to download the entire contents of the victims’ Apple iCloud backups. In addition, Collins ran a modeling scam in which he tricked his victims into sending him nude photographs.
Although Collins was responsible for stealing photos and videos belonging to several celebrities, investigators have not gathered any evidence to show that Collins was responsible for the actual leaks of the stolen data.
Furthermore, many of Collins’ 600 victims were from the entertainment industry, most of whom were actresses and singers. Investigators determined that Collins accessed at least 50 iCloud accounts and 71 Gmail accounts, most of whom belonged to female celebrities.
Collins is in prison for a violation of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. The phishing schemer was taken into custody immediately after his sentencing.
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