Officials announced on Thursday that Ryan Collins, the man behind the iCloud celebrity nudes scandal in 2014, has been sentenced to 18 months in a federal prison. Collins had plead guilty to the charges in March of this year.
In a court in May, Ryan Collins, a 36-year-old from Lancaster, Pennsylvania, pleaded guilty to federal hacking charges and admitted to a two-year phishing scam to gain passwords of more than 100 people, including actors Jennifer Lawrence and Aubrey Plaza and singers Rihanna and Avril Lavigne.
Collins accessed celebrity iCloud accounts in the simplest way possible, he tricked the celebs into supplying their usernames and passwords by sending them emails that appeared to be from Apple and Google. He then used that information to steal their personal information and files, including nude photos. Most of his targets were celebrities in the entertainment industry.
“In some cases,” Pennsylvania US attorney Bruce Brandler’s office said, “Collins would use a software program to download the entire contents of the victims’ Apple iCloud backups. In addition, Collins ran a modeling scam in which he tricked his victims into sending him nude photographs.”
Collins gained access to at least 50 iCloud and 72 Gmail accounts, many of which belonged to female celebrities. Collins posted nude images of over 100 actors, singers and other female notables online back in August 2014. This led to the photos being either confirmed as genuine or condemned as fake by the celebrities that were involved.
While Apple was quickly criticized for not keeping customers’ private information secure on its iCloud servers, the company investigated and found that the leaks were the result of “very targeted attacks” on user names, passwords, and security questions. Saying, “none of the cases we have investigated has resulted from any breach in any of Apple’s systems.”