‘Fappening’ hacker takes plea deal, admits downloading nudes from celebrity iCloud accounts

A Pennsylvania man has agreed to plead guilty to participating in “the Fappening,” the 2014 incident involving leaked nude photos of Jennifer Lawrence, Kate Upton, and dozens of other celebrities, Gawker’s Sam Biddle reports.

Ryan Collins, of Pennsylvania, admitted that he used fake emails, purporting to be from Apple and Google, to trick the celebs into giving up their account credentials. He then accessed 50 iCloud accounts and 72 Gmail accounts, mostly belonging to female stars, and downloaded their private nudes. 

Collins has agreed to a recommended prison term of 18 months, although that could be adjusted by the judge who sentences him. 

Interestingly, the Justice Department hasn’t tied Collins to the release of the photos on messageboard sites like 4chan and its offshoot AnonIB. He’s only accused of running a phishing scam and building his own private collection. 

From the charging documents: 

The charge against Collins stems from the investigation into the leaks of photographs of numerous female celebrities in September 2014 known as “Celebgate.” However, investigators have not uncovered any evidence linking Collins to the actual leaks or that Collins shared or uploaded the information he obtained. 

Gawker’s Biddle asked the Justice Department whether Collins was connected to other Fappening suspects—including Chicago man Ed Majerczyk, who allegedly ripped 330 iCloud accounts using a similar phishing scheme. He was told that the Collins case is “directly related” to that ongoing investigation.

H/T Gawker | Photo via reynermedia/Flickr (CC BY 2.0) | Remix by Max Fleishman

Photo via celebrityabc/Flickr (CC BY SA 2.0)

Jay Hathaway

Jay Hathaway

Jay Hathaway is a former senior writer who specialized in internet memes and weird online culture. He previously served as the Daily Dot’s news editor, was a staff writer at Gawker, and edited the classic websites Urlesque and Download Squad. His work has also appeared on nymag.com, suicidegirls.com, and the Morning News.