Unauthorized access to nude photos of celebrities in the case The Fappening occurred using phishing technique
Remember the huge leak of intimate celebrity photos that happened two years ago?After a long investigation by the FBI, which is not over, a man admitted that accessed accounts in iCloud and Gmail using phishing technique, in which he went through Apple or Google to trick users into entering the unauthorized accounts.
The hacker Ryan Collins, 36, violated the Law of Fraud and Computer Abuse (CFAA, its acronym in English), accessing personal information without permission of the owners.According to the US Department of Justice (DoJ), 50 accounts were accessed iCloud, and 72 of Gmail.
At the time, it was believed that the leak was connected to a gap in the iCloud, which soon after was dropped by Apple. Still, the scandal, called Celebgate or The Fappening, damaged personalities like Jennifer Lawrence actress, who threatened to sue those responsible, and actress Mary Elizabeth Winstead, who confirmed the accuracy of the photos.
Collins was sued in Los Angeles, one of the entertainment industry centers, but he will be sentenced in Pennsylvania, his home state. Prosecutors have recommended a sentence of 18 months which may be extended by the judge for up to five years in prison. Bail is $ 250,000.
In confession, and second recorded by the research, Collins sent emails to their victims pretending to be Apple or Google and asked them to send your username and password. Despite the leak only have been made at the very end of August 2014, the hacker tried to access since November 2012.
After nearly two years trying to access more than 120 accounts, Collins gathered personal information of celebrities such as intimate photos and videos, according to the confession. In some cases, he used a program to download all the content stored on iCloud backups of the victims.
“People store important private information in your online accounts and in your digital devices,” said promoter Eileen M. Decker. “Unauthorized access to such private information is a crime,” he added.
David Bowdich, FBI office assistant director in LA, said that in addition to violating the privacy of users, Collins caused emotional stress on the victims, who were mostly women. He also said that today all sorts of people suffer the consequences of crimes like this, and advised users to strengthen your passwords and do not send personal information by email.
For some time, Apple itself has created a support page to help users identify and phishing emails and protect yourself from attacks. “Never send credit card information, account passwords or personal detailed information by email, unless you have confirmed that the recipient is who he claims to be,” says the page.
Although Collins admitted access the accounts of victims and downloaded information, there is no evidence that he shared the images and videos obtained. The scandal began with posts from anonymous users on 4chan. Investigations continue – and more people may be trapped in this process.