News: Phishing scam used shows Apple not to blame for leak.
A US man has pleaded guilty to stealing and leaking nude photos of celebrities.
During the course of the trail of Ryan Collins it has been found that the hack did not involve Apple’s services being compromised through password cracking or through brute-force, instead it was a phishing attacking that was used.
Apple had come under fire for the hack with questions raised about the security of its iCloud. Apple has always denied claims that it was breached through brute-force, maintaining that the hacks were likely the result of a phishing scam.
Court filing said: "[The] defendant used numerous fraudulent email addresses designed to look like legitimate security accounts from various internet service providers, including, for example, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com and secure.helpdesk0119 at gmail [dot]com."
Prosecutors have recommended a jail term of 18 months for Collins, although this could be extended to five years with fines of up to $250,000.
The charges are related to between 2012-2014 when a number of photographs of celebrities were leaked onto the internet after email and Apple iCloud accounts were compromised. Collins is said to have been able to download the backups of iCloud accounts and extract the photos from there.
The Department of Justice has said that Collins admitted to breaking into more than 100 accounts between November 2012 and September 2014. In this time around 50 iCloud accounts and 72 Gmail accounts were accessed.
"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," say the court papers.
The FBI which has been investigating the case that this is part of an "ongoing investigation" which indicates that more arrests could yet be made.
The leak of nude celebrity photos from the likes of Jennifer Lawrence, Rihanna and Kate Upton led to Apple adding a guide on identifying phishing emails to its site in June last year.