“A man has been charged with hacking the Apple iCloud and Gmail accounts of celebrities and stealing nude photos and videos from them,” BBC News reports. “The US authorities say Ryan Collins has agreed to plead guilty to the offence… The 36-year-old is alleged to have stolen usernames and passwords via a phishing scam.”
“The Department of Justice said that the Pennsylvania-based Collins had admitted to breaking into more than 100 accounts between November 2012 and September 2014. He is said to have achieved this by sending emails to the victims that pretended to be from Google or Apple requesting their login details,” The Beeb reports. “Collins is accused of accessing at least 50 iCloud accounts and 72 Gmail accounts.”
“‘Through his phishing scheme [the] defendant was also able to access full Apple iCloud back-ups belonging to numerous victims, including at least 18 celebrities, many of whom reside in the Los Angeles area,’ the court papers state. ‘Many of these back-ups contained nude photographs and videos,'” The Beeb reports. “The celebrities are not named, but the attacks coincide with stolen photos of the actresses Jennifer Lawrence, Kate Upton, Mary Elizabeth Winstead and others being posted to the internet in 2014, which was blamed on an iCloud breach at the time. Collins has not been accused of uploading the images for others to see.”
The Beeb reports, “The FBI added that the case against Collins was part of an “ongoing investigation”, indicating that there may be further arrests.”
Read more in the full article here.
MacDailyNews Take: Again, too many people use one password for multiple services and weak passwords at that. Once hackers guess that password, they then have access to all sorts of things: cloud storage, bank accounts, Facebook, Twitter, email, etc.
Regardless of the origination of these photos and videos, social engineering hacks can be thwarted, at least for iCloud. Use two-step verification for Apple ID to keep your personal information as secure as possible. More info here.
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Apple: No iCloud breach in celebrity nude photos leak – September 2, 2014
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Apple ‘actively investigating’ Jennifer Lawrence, other nude celebrity photos hack – September 1, 2014