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Hacker Pleads Guilty to Celebrity "Fappening" Hacks

Hacker pleads guilty to the celebrity "Fappening" hacks.

Ryan Collins of Pennsylvania will plead guilty to violating the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act as part of the celebrity iCloud hack known as "The Fappening" by the guys over at 4chan and Reddit. He now faces up to five years in prison. But according to reports, Collins will serve far less than five years in prison. The feds say “parties have agreed to recommend a prison term of 18 months,” although “that recommendation will not be binding on the sentencing judge.” So how did Ryan Collins hack into all of those celebrity accounts? It was completed through a hacking technique called "phishing".
Phishing is the attempt to acquire sensitive information such as usernames, passwords, and credit card details (and sometimes, indirectly, money), often for malicious reasons, by masquerading as a trustworthy entity in an electronic communication.
Once armed with a celebrity's email and password, the feds say Collins downloaded complete backups of their iPhones. It interesting to point out that the Depart of Justice does not say if Collins actually leaked the photos onto the Internet.

According to factual basis in the plea agreement, from November 2012 until the beginning of September 2014, Collins engaged in a phishing scheme to obtain usernames and passwords for his victims. He sent e-mails to victims that appeared to be from Apple or Google and asked victims to provider their usernames and passwords. When the victims responded, Collins then had access to the victims’ e-mail accounts.

After illegally accessing the e-mail accounts, Collins obtained personal information including nude photographs and videos, according to his plea agreement. In some instances, Collins would use a software program to download the entire contents of the victims’ Apple iCloud backups.

The charge against Collins stems from the investigation into the leaks of photographs of numerous female celebrities in September 2014 known as “Celebgate.” However, investigators have not uncovered any evidence linking Collins to the actual leaks or that Collins shared or uploaded the information he obtained.

Many of Collins’ victims were members of the entertainment industry in Los Angeles. By illegally accessing the e-mail accounts, Collins accessed at least 50 iCloud accounts and 72 Gmail accounts, most of which belonged to female celebrities.

Jennifer Lawrence, Gabrielle Union, Kate Upton and Ariana Grande were just a few of the women in Hollywood whose personal photos were put on the Internet for the masses to enjoy. Jennifer Lawrence told Vanity Fair in a November 2014 article that the invasion of privacy was more than a scandal — it's a sex crime.

"The law needs to be changed, and we need to change," she said in the cover story. "Just the fact that somebody can be sexually exploited and violated, and the first thought that crosses somebody’s mind is to make a profit from it."

"Just the fact that somebody can be sexually exploited and violated, and the first thought that crosses somebody’s mind is to make a profit from it." - Jennifer Lawrence

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