Almost 19 months after the mass leaking of naked celeb photos known as “The Fappening,” a man has been arrested for violating the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act — and faces up to five years in prison as a result.
Ryan Collins of Pennsylvania is pleading guilty to hijacking more than 100 accounts using phishing emails disguised as official notifications from Apple and Google. Collins engaged in the phishing scheme between November 2012 and September 2014, when the photos were finally released.
He sent emails asking victims for their usernames and passwords — supposedly for official purposes — and then used this information to seize control of their emails.
He also utilized a “brute force” software program called iBrute to illegally download the contents of their iCloud backups, by guessing passwords repeatedly until it got them right.
There is no word on whether or not Collins is connected to two men from Chicago whose homes were searched by the FBI as part of the initial investigation in 2014.
The leaked photos included images of celebrities including Avril Lavigne, Hayden Panettiere, Kate Upton, Mary Elizabeth Winstead and Rihanna. They appeared first on 4Chan, with an anonymous poster telling people at the time that they had obtained the images by hacking iCloud accounts. Photos were also allegedly sold for Bitcoins.