Digital Dose Wednesday – iCloud Hack & Federal Prison Felony Computer Hacking

Ryan Collins, 36, was charged earlier this year, March 8th, 2016, for felony computer hacking and is now facing 18 months in federal prison. If you are not familiar with the name you are probably more aware of his crime. Ryan Collins is the man who is held responsible for the 2014 mass nude photo leak that shook Hollywood starlets to the core, this fiasco is better known as “The Fappening”. This Wednesday U.S. District Judge William W. Caldwell sentenced Ryan to 18 months in federal prison. The investigation had identified more than 600 victims including Hollywood A-Listers such as; Jennifer Lawrence, Gabrielle Union, Kate Upton, and Ariana Grande. Many of the victims have since spoken out about the incident and Lawrence in her famous Vanity Fair interview vehemently argued of how “The law needs to be changed” when it comes to invasion of privacy that in this situation should be considered as a “sex crime”.

So how did Collins come about in committing these cyber crimes? Well, the U.S. Attorney’s statement this week explains how Collins executed this cyber attack where he phished for victim’s passwords and usernames by transmitting false e-mails that forged Apple or Google signatures. When the users responded, Collins was then able to access their e-mail accounts and personal information, many of which included Apple iCloud backups which housed many of the nude photos. In March, Collins was charged with felony computer hacking and could have faced up to five years in federal prison; however, he agreed to take a plea deal and prosecutors negotiated the sentence to 18 months instead. Collins admitted to unlawfully taking the photos and other private information through an email phishing scheme, however, sources say that none of the investigators had actually found any evidence that he shared or uploaded the images.

These events serve as a good reminder to be careful what you store on your electronic devices and to do your due diligence when responding to suspicious emails.

Credit: Jessica Wong

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