The U.S. government says it has found the man who stole naked photographs from celebrity iCloud accounts

Jennifer Lawrence was one of the victims of the iCloud hack. (REUTERS/Lucas Jackson)

The US government claims it has arrested the man behind the 2014 leak of hundreds of naked photographs of celebrities, including Kate Upton, Jennifer Lawrence, and Ariana Grande.

Fusion reports that Ryan Collins, 36, from Pennsylvania will plead guilty to a felony violation of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, as well as one count of unauthorized access to a protected computer to obtain information.

So how did he allegedly do it?

The government says that Collins used “phishing” emails to retrieve passwords to celebrity iCloud and Gmail accounts. He sent emails that pretended to be from Apple asking celebrities to reset their password. When they entered the information, it didn’t go to Apple, it went to Collins instead.

This isn’t the first person that the FBI has investigated in connection to the stolen photos. It raided the house of a man named Emilio Herrera in 2014 and left with “several computers, cellphones, a Kindle, floppy disks, hard drives and thumb drives.” Herrera was not charged at the time.

What’s interesting about is that the US government doesn’t accuse Collins of publishing the images online. Instead it’s only charging him with obtaining the images. We still don’t know who “OriginalGuy” is — that’s the username of the person (or group of people) who leaked the images online. “OriginalGuy” claimed that he paid for many of the images using Bitcoin, but it’s not clear whether the photographs were sold to him by Collins.

Here’s what “OriginalGuy” said about the leak of photos at the time:

I didn’t take the money and run. Shit got weird once I started posting samples. AnonIB must have IP blocked me. I was spending all of my time trying to find proxies, and then when I could get on the site, was being hammered by everyone and I couldn’t even post. I got some private requests through email, but none ever came through. People wanted shit for free. Sure, I got $120 with my Bitcoin address, but when you consider how much time was spent acquiring this stuff (I’m not the hacker, just a collector), and the money (I paid a lot via Bitcoin as well to get certain sets when this stuff was being privately traded on Friday/Saturday) I really didn’t get close to what I was hoping for. Mainly because of the extra Bitcoin spammers spamming their own address … I proved I had shit, but people wanted more and more for free … When I posted samples, someone was tracking me, trying to find me. My ISP kept cutting out. Weird emails were coming in. It kinda freaked me out and I had to leave for a couple of hours.

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