The hacker who obtained access to the Apple and Google accounts of more than 100 well-known celebrities — including Jennifer Lawrence and Rihanna — has been sentenced to 18 months in federal prison, the Guardian reported.
Ryan Collins, a 36-year-old from Pennsylvania, tricked his victims by sending them fake Apple or Google emails asking them to provide their username and passwords. He accessed more than 100 accounts, many belonging to female celebrities.
However, it appears that Collins might not be “OriginalGuy,” the 4Chan user who dumped his massive collection of nude celebrity photos online in August 2014, causing mayhem. That person remains unidentified.
Collins sometimes used a software program to download the Apple iCloud backups on his victims’ accounts, the US Attorney office said. Investigators identified over 600 victims in total — Collins also ran a modelling scam where he got victims to send him nude photos directly.
The sentencing comes after a two year investigation by the FBI which began following a particular online post that became known as “Celebgate” — a collection of almost 500 private pictures of over 100 mostly-female celebrities — on the internet forum 4chan. Victims included Avril Lavigne, Kim Kardashian, Kirsten Dunst, Aubrey Plaza, Winona Ryder — as well as Jennifer Lawrence and Rihanna.
However, the US Attorney said: “investigators have not uncovered any evidence linking Collins to the actual leaks [in Celebgate] or that Collins shared or uploaded the information he obtained”.
He was sentenced for his sophisticated scheme to obtain usersnames and passwords — which officials said he engaged in from November 2012 until the beginning of September 2014. The official conviction was on “felony violation of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act”.
Collins pleaded guilty to the computer hacking felony back in May, on one count of “unauthorised access to a protected computer to obtain information”. Illinois man Edward Majerczyck, 28, also pleaded guilty to the same felony, months later. Like Collins, federal authorities said they had found no evidence linking him to actual public circulation of any of the photos to which he gained access.