Back in March, it was reported that a Pennsylvania man responsible for the 2014 celebrity photo leak scandal known as ‘Celebgate’ or ‘The Fappening’ had pleaded guilty to a felony computer hacking charge. Now, Ryan Collins has been sentenced to 18 months in federal prison, the same length of time recommended by authorities earlier this year.
36-year-old Collins faced a maximum of five years behind bars for the incident, which saw explicit photos and videos of female celebrities posted online. He used phishing techniques to access people’s cloud storage, tricking them into revealing passwords and usernames by sending fake emails in which Collins claimed to be from Apple or Google.
After stealing information from more than 600 individuals, not all of them famous, Collins compromised over 50 iCloud and 72 Gmail accounts between November 2012 and September 2014, including those belonging to Jennifer Lawrence, Scarlett Johansson, Rihanna, Kate Upton, Hilary Duff, and many more. In some cases, he downloaded a victim’s entire iCloud backups.
The images were leaked on anonymous image board Anon-IB before appearing on the likes of 4Chan and Reddit, though the FBI found no evidence to suggest that Collins shared or uploaded any of the stolen photos.
A second man confessed to his part in celebgate back in July. 28-year-old Chicago, Illinois resident Edward Majerczyk also pleaded guilty to felony computer hacking charges, after he accessed the iCloud and Gmail accounts of over 300 people. Surprisingly enough, there is no evidence or suggestion that the two men worked together at any point.