Immediately after the leak of hundreds of nude photos of celebrities, allegedly from Apple’s iCloud backup storage system, the internet began investigating in an attempt to discover the hacker responsible.
Now, the man widely accused as being the original leaker has stepped forward to deny allegations that he hacked into the iCloud accounts of the rich and famous.
Twenty-six-year-old web developer Bryan Hamade told the Daily Mail that he was not the source of the leaks. Reddit and 4chan users alleged Hamade was the culprit after a screenshot posted online appeared to show a series of names connected with a web development company in Georgia. (Investigations by the armchair detectives of Reddit do not have a great track record. They once wrongly accused a missing 22-year-old of being the Boston Marathon Bomber; he had nothing to do with it.)
Amateur internet sleuths used the names to discover Southern Digital Media, a web hosting company in Atlanta. While some internet users initially suspected the company’s 15-year-old intern as the hacker, suspicion quickly turned to server administrator Bryan Hamade.
Hamade, speaking to MailOnline, denied Reddit’s claims, saying “I only reposted one thing that was posted elsewhere and stupidly had my network folders visible.”
“I am not the original leaker. The real guy is on 4chan posting intermittently,” claims Hamade.
“He’s most likely the one behind it but it does seem the photos passed around to multiple people before being leaked, so it may just be someone who has them and didn’t hack to get them. I’d never in a million years know how to hack into any of the accounts listed.
“4chan just attacked me because they like to attack anyone in situations such as this.”
In a statement to BuzzFeed, Hamade claimed that he’s the target of abuse from people investigating the iCloud hack:
“It’s been a nightmare and I haven’t slept in 34 hours, now. 4chan users are harassing me with non-stop phone calls and emails. They email me constantly, emailing saying they will hack my personal websites and keep calling my phone, calling me a fag and then hanging up. They also said they will hack my mum’s site, so I took it down.”
“I regret it so much,” he went on to tell BuzzFeed. “I didn’t even get any bitcoin out of it.
“It’s the stupidest thing I’ve done and I hope it won’t ruin my life, though it probably will since it’s just the biggest news story.”
Reddit has a long history of launching frenzied investigations into current affairs. In July 2013, a Reddit community sprung up to investigate CCTV and available photographs of the Boston marathon bombings. One of the suspects identified by Reddit was later revealed to be an innocent homeless man who was later found dead.
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