A Pennsylvania man was sentenced to 18 months in prison for hacking into the email and online accounts of Jennifer Lawrence and other female celebrities and stealing private information, including nude photos and videos.
Ryan Collins, 36, of Lancaster, was sentenced Wednesday by a federal judge in Pennsylvania, reported The Associated Press.
Prosecutors said Collins gained access to more than 100 Google and Apple accounts from November 2012 to September 2014, many of them belonging to stars and celebrities.
He pleaded guilty in May to one count of gaining unauthorized access to a protected computer to obtain information.
Collins was tracked down by the FBI and charged in connection with “Celebgate,” an ongoing investigation into the hacking into accounts of as many as 100 celebrities and stars, and the subsequent leaking of nude photos and videos of said stars.
Lawrence was one of the major names among the victimized but others included Kim Kardashian, Kate Upton, Kirsten Dunst, Vanessa Hudgens, Rihanna, Kate Bosworth, Hayden Panettiere, Lake Bell and others. None of these names were in the FBI press release announcing the plea agreement.
Prosecutors say there was no evidence that Collins was the person who posted any of the pilfered images online or shared any information he obtained.
But his role was sneaky and creepy enough, according to the FBI description of his plea agreement. From November 2014 to early September 2014, Collins engaged in a “phishing scheme” to obtain access to his victims’ accounts by sending emails that appeared to be from Apple or Google, asking for usernames and passwords.
When the victims complied (FBI Tip #1: Don’t ever do this), Collins used his illicit access to steal “personal information including nude photographs and videos” from his victims’ accounts. Sometimes Collins used a software program to download the entire contents of the victims’ Apple iCloud backups, the FBI said.
Contributing: The Associated Press
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