Hacker linked to 'Celebgate' pleads guilty

Hacker linked to 'Celebgate' pleads guilty
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A man linked to the 2014 leaks of nude celebrity photos, known as “Celebgate,” has pleaded guilty to felony computer hacking charges.


Ryan Collins, of Lancaster, Pa., pleaded guilty to one count of unauthorized access to a protected computer for a phishing scheme that gave him entry to more than 100 Apple and Google email accounts.

But investigators have not uncovered any evidence linking Collins to the actual leaks or showing that Collins shared or uploaded the information he obtained, according to the Justice Department.

The incident exposed personal images of more than 100 individuals, including nude photos of some female celebrities. A-listers Jennifer Lawrence, Kirsten Dunst, Kate Upton and others have verified the authenticity of the images.

Collins admitted that beginning in 2012, he sent emails to victims disguised to appear to be from Apple or Google, asking that the recipients provide their usernames and passwords. Collins used the information he received to access victims’ email accounts and obtain personal information, including nude photos.

In some cases, he would use a software program to download the entire contents of victims’ Apple iCloud backups.

But it remains unclear how the images made their way from Collins' possession to the public internet. 

Collins faces up to five years’ imprisonment and a $250,000 fine. A sentencing date has not been set.