Remember the iCloud hack scandal which left many famous actresses in awe back in 2014? Ryan Collins has been proved guilty to the theft of hundreds of nude photos of Jennifer Lawrence, Kate Upton, Ariana Grande, Kirsten Dunst, Selena Gomez and more celebrities.
Collins is a 36-year-old male from Lancaster, PA. He signed the plea agreement with the US Attorney in Los Angeles on Tuesday of this week which was brought by federal prosecutors in California. The case is being transferred to federal court in Harrisburg.. Collins finally confessed that he used a phishing techniques to get the usernames and passwords of roughly 50 iCloud accounts and 72 Gmail accounts. Most of those account, according to the authorities belong to famous celebrities. He has not been sentenced.
The maximum sentence for his activity is five years in prison, although prosecutors have indicated that they will recommend just a year and a half. Collins also faces fines of up to $250,000 and possibly 3 years of supervised probation.
The scheme worked like this: Collins would send an email to his mark that appeared to be a legitimate security message from companies and services like Apple, Outlook and Gmail, the kind of phony message you’ve probably received dozens of times yourself. If the victim didn’t realize the scam, they’d enter their username/ID and password and, just like that, Collins had access to their most personal images and information. After that, naked photos of famous celebrities got leaked in websites like 4Chan and Reddit.
FBI Assistant Director of the LA Field Office issued this statement.
By illegally accessing intimate details of his victims’ personal lives, Mr. Collins violated their privacy and left many to contend with lasting emotional distress, embarrassment and feelings of insecurity…
…We continue to see both celebrities and victims from all walks of life suffer the consequences of this crime and strongly encourage users of Internet-connected devices to strengthen passwords and to be skeptical when replying to emails asking for personal information.
Authorities pointed out that they have no evidence or whatsoever of Collin sharing or uploading the photos that he got from those hacked account. However, the time frame lines up with the insane amount of nude photos of female celebrities going online in August of 2014
Lesson to Learn : Celebrity or not, be wary of phishing scams and hacking possibilities. Be extra careful with your account safety. Next time, be cautious about the things that you choose to share on cloud storage.