This month’s news has been full of big budget superhero movies, celebrity deaths, politics, and sadly, terrorism. With so much going on, it’s hard to keep track of the fast-paced news cycle and many stories get over-looked or simply missed. A few outlets reported on the latest update on “The Fappening” or “Celebgate” but it mostly went unreported. In fact, it’s so under-reported that many reading the headline are still trying to figure out what we’re referencing. Well, here’s the definition.
The Fappening or Celebgate: August 31st 2014. High amounts of explicit photos and videos of various female celebrities including Kim Kardashian, Jennifer Lawrence, Rihanna, Kate Upton, and Gabrielle Union were leaked. Now that we’ve mentioned it, some of you may recall hearing about the celeb photo scandal. Hundreds of celebrities were hacked, most of them female. It was believed that hackers accessed the pictures by hacking into celebrities’ iClouds where the pictures were housed. Obviously, celebrities were shocked and felt violated when their pictures leaked. Many vowed to get revenge and asked the FBI to research and prosecute those responsible.
The pictures were leaked online by an “Anonymous” 4Chan hacker. According to Fox news, “4chan.org is the self-proclaimed Internet home for people who lack a social conscience, a Web site that’s become a surreptitious cultural powerhouse.”
Earlier this month, a man by the name of Ryan Collins, 36, plead guilty to unauthorized access to a protected computer. Collins plea confirms that The Fappening/Celebgate photos were accessed through iClouds and Gmail. He hacked over 100 computers between 2012 and 2014 to get the pictures. Collins is not charged with actually posting the pictures to 4chan and Reddit, just the hacking part. As the Feds continue to search for the remaining hackers they will ask the court to sentence Collins to 18 months but his plea deal is “up to” 5 years. According to an article by Metro “it was suggested that vulnerabilities in iCloud and Google were to blame, but court filings later obtained by the BBC showed that Collins had allegedly used phishing attacks – masquerading as a trustworthy entity in an electronic communication – to get his victim’s login details.”
Two different hackers from Chicago, namely Emilio Herrera and Ed Majerczyk, are also suspected for the Fappening leaks. In January, TheHackerNews.com released a story naming Ed Majerczyk as a suspect. Majerczyk was raided by the Feds in October of 2014. “According to the FBI, Majerczyk breached 330 unique iCloud accounts from his home a total of over 600 times in 2014. And once breached, Majerczyk downloaded the entirety of a victim’s iPhone camera roll and uploaded it on 4chan.” At this time neither Herrera nor Majerczyk have been charged with any crimes.
In a related and interesting turn of events, Google recently hired the man behind 4chan. As is usually the case with hacking crimes, some are punished and some are promoted. Though the founder of 4chan did not post the actual celeb nudes, it was his site responsible for the distribution. According to the International Business Times, Christopher Poole, will be working with Bradley Horowitz, the head of “streams, photos and sharing” for Google+.
We will continue to follow this story and provide updates on suspects, charges, plea deals, promotions, and celebrity responses as they become available.