A hacker involved in the widespread nude-photo hack that came to be known as The Fappening has pleaded guilty and faces up to five years in prison, the Justice Department said Tuesday.
According to the agency, Ryan Collins, a Pennsylvania man, hacked into the Apple and Google email accounts of more than 100 people, most of them celebrities.
Authorities said Collins, 36, agreed to plead guilty to one count of unauthorized access to a protected computer to obtain information. The feds are recommending an 18-month prison sentence.
“Today, people store important private information in their online accounts and in their digital devices,” said United States Attorney Eileen M. Decker. “Lawless unauthorized access to such private information is a criminal offense. My office remains committed to protecting sensitive and personal information from the malicious actions of sophisticated hackers and cyber criminals.”
According to the Justice Department, Collins engaged in a phishing scheme from November 2012 to September 2014, during which he obtained his victims’ usernames and passwords. Collins would send emails that seemed to be from Apple or Google, asking them to provide information. When the victims responded, Collins accessed their accounts and obtained personal information, including nude photographs and videos.
Authorities say Collins accessed at least 50 iCloud accounts and 72 Gmail accounts, most belonging to female celebrities.