A hacker associated with the widespread nude photo hack that came to be known as “The Fappening” was sentenced to 18 months in federal prison Wednesday, the United State’s Attorney’s Office said.
Ryan Collins, 36, of Lancaster, Pennsylvania, pleaded guilty in March to one count of unauthorized access to a protected computer to obtain information. While the 18-month sentence falls in line with the feds’ recommended sentence, Collins faced up to five years in prison.
According to authorities, 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.
Collins allegedly accessed at least 50 iCloud accounts and 72 Gmail accounts, mostly belonging to female celebrities.
While the case against Collins stems from the investigation into the leaks of photographs of numerous Hollywood stars in September 2014, known as “The Fappening” or “Celebgate,” investigators did not uncover any evidence linking Collins to the actual leaks, or evidence that Collins shared or uploaded the information he obtained.
Internet users jokingly called it “The Fappening” because “fap” is an online slang term for masturbation.
Authorities did not say which celebrities were hacked by Collins. Victims of The Fappening are known to include Jennifer Lawrence, Kate Upton, Kaley Cuoco and Kirsten Dunst.
Pamela Chelin contributed to this report.