Hacker Ryan Collins pled guilty on Wednesday to stealing nude photos from celebrities’ iCloud and Google accounts. The U.S. attorney in Los Angeles didn’t identify the victims of the hacking. However, celebrities like Jennifer Lawrence, Kate Upton, and Kirsten Dunst have confirmed they were victims of the 2014 attack.
Officials say that the hack was performed by several individuals, including Collins. The hacker was charged for unlawfully accessing at least 50 iCloud accounts and 72 Gmail accounts.
Collins accessed the accounts using an unsophisticated “phishing” scam. He sent emails to victims that appeared to be from Apple or Google and asked victims to provide their usernames and passwords.
CNN Money reports that David Bowdich, head of the FBI’s Los Angeles field office, stated, “By illegally accessing intimate details of his victims’ personal lives, Mr. Collins violated their privacy and left many to contend with lasting emotional distress, embarrassment and feelings of insecurity.”
The photos Collins stole appeared online in an event dubbed by some as “the fappening.” Collins hacked the accounts over the course of two years, between November 2012 and September 2014. The photos were leaked on Anon-IB in September 2014 and spread to places like Reddit and 4Chan. Authorities haven’t found any evidence showing that Collins leaked the photos.
Raw Story noted that Collins signed a plea agreement and agreed to plead guilty to a felony violation of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. He agreed to plead guilty to one count of unauthorized access to a protected computer to obtain information.
Ryan Collins could face a maximum of five years in prison, though he will probably only serve 18 months in jail, per the plea agreement. However, the judge who hears the plea will decide the sentence for the hacker who stole nude celebrity photos.