‘Celebgate’ Hacker Who Invaded The Privacy Of Hollywood Leading Ladies Sentenced To Federal Prison

The infamous  hacker who orchestrated a phishing scheme that gave him illegal access to more than 100 email accounts mostly belonging to female celebrities was sentenced Wednesday to 18 months in federal prison.Ryan Collins, 36, was sentenced in U.S. District Court in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania for a felony violation of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act.   Collins, a resident of Lancaster, Pennsylvania, was taken into custody immediately after sentencing, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office. 

The case was investigated by FBI agents based in Los Angeles, and the plea agreement was negotiated by local prosecutors. The case was transferred to the Middle District of Pennsylvania because the defendant lives in the area.Jennifer Lawrence in Dior Couture


“Hackers violate federal law whenever they access private information stored online and in digital devices,” said Eileen M. Decker, the U.S. attorney in Los Angeles.


“Today people store important private information online and in their digital devices, which is why my office is deeply committed to holding hackers accountable, even when they do not sell or distribute the stolen data,” she said.


The names of Collins’ victims were not made public.


Collins admitted that from November 2012 until the beginning of September 2014, he engaged in a phishing scheme to obtain user names and passwords for his victims, sending email messages that appeared to be from Apple or Google.


When they responded, Collins then had access to the victims’ email accounts, from which he obtained personal information, including nude photographs and videos.


In some instances, Collins would use a software program to download the entire contents of the victims’ Apple iCloud backups, court papers show.


The charge against Collins stemmed from the investigation into the leaks of photographs of numerous female celebrities in September 2014 known as “Celebgate” — which even has its own Twitter account. Celebgate led to the violations of privacy of stars such a Jennifer Lawrence, Kate Upton and Kirsten Dunst.


However, investigators have not uncovered any evidence linking Collins to the actual leaks or that Collins shared or uploaded the information he obtained.



Written By: Tommy Lightfoot Garrett
Photographs are Courtesy: AP
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