Hacker who leaked explicit celebrity photos from iCloud pleads guilty

Ryan Collins has pleaded guilty to unauthorized access to a computer in a trial where he has been charged with hacking (via Engadget) more than 50 iCloud and 70 Gmail accounts. Collins admitted to gaining access between November 2012 and September 2014 to search through accounts for explicit material. Affected celebrities included the likes of Jennifer Lawrence and Kate Upton.

On a positive note, the leak wasn't down to a security flaw with Apple's platforms. He is looking to face a statutory maximum sentence of five years in federal prison, but assistant director at the Los Angeles FBI branch David Bowdich urges consumers to be smart while online and employ secure passwords.

"By illegally accessing intimate details of his victims' personal lives, Mr. Collins violated their privacy and left many to contend with lasting emotional distress, embarrassment and feelings of insecurity. We continue to see both celebrities and victims from all walks of life suffer the consequences of this crime and strongly encourage users of Internet-connected devices to strengthen passwords and to be skeptical when replying to emails asking for personal information."

The investigation isn't quite over yet, but we'll stand by Bowdich here and urge you all to be smart online, make sure your passwords are randomly generated, are of sufficient length and complexity and aren't used for more than one account.

Rich Edmonds