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Fappening hacker gets 18 months in prison

The hacker illegally obtained at least 50 iCloud accounts and 72 Gmail accounts, many belonging to female celebrities.

© John Lund/Blend Images/Corbis

Jennifer Lawrence was among the hacker's victims.

Fred Duval, FilmMagic

The hacker who used a phishing scam to steal nude photos from celebrities including Jennifer Lawrence and Rihanna has been sentenced to 18 months in prison.

Ryan Collins, a 36-year-old from Lancaster, Pennsylvania, was sentenced Wednesday after pleading guilty in May to one count of "unauthorized access to a protected computer to obtain information."

Collins posed as an employee of Google and Apple between 2012 and 2014, according to US prosecutors, in order to convince over 100 people to hand over their account credentials.

Collins was able to illegally obtain at least 50 iCloud accounts and 72 Gmail accounts, many belonging to female celebrities, through the "sophisticated phishing scheme." The photos were spread in online forums, such as Reddit and 4chan, and were widely referred to as the Fappening or Celebgate.

However, prosecutors said they were unable to pin down who had actually released the photos as they could only prove that Collins had stolen them, not that he had shared them.

In addition, Collins also ran a modelling scam in which he managed to deceive women into sending him nude photographs directly.

First published October 28, 8:32 a.m. PT.

Update, 10:51 a.m.: Adds background on the Fappening.