Remember when someone stole nude photos of famous actresses and singers and posted them on the Internet?
Well, one of the men involved in what became known as The Fappening has pleaded guilty to his part in the September 2014 crime—and revealed how he did it, which is handy to know so you can avoid similar scams.
Jennifer Lawrence, Kate Upton and Kirsten Dunst were just some of the dozen celebrities whose private photos were hacked and then leaked on anonymous image board Anon-IB before spreading to Internet forums like 4Chan and Reddit.
Ryan Collins, 36, from Lancaster, Pennsylvania, admitted responsibility for accessing 50 iCloud and 72 Gmail accounts during November 2012 and September 2014. While he pleaded guilty to hacking the photos, he hasn't been linked to posting or leaking them.
Collins faces up to five years in prison, though he could only serve 18 months because he's struck a deal with prosecutors. The sentencing judge will have the final decision.
Collins also admitted he gained access to the photos using a well-known phishing technique. He sent celebrities fake emails purporting to be from Apple or Google to get them to part with their usernames or passwords. If the celebs replied, Collins was able to access the contents of their email and iCloud accounts to steal photos and videos, which were then leaked online.
David Bowdich, assistant director in charge of the FBI's Los Angeles field office, said in a statement: "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."
J-Law, who called it a "sex crime", revealed the nude photos were for her then boyfriend Nicholas Hoult, telling Vanity Fair:
"I started to write an apology, but I don't have anything to say I'm sorry for...I was in a loving, healthy, great relationship for four years. It was long distance, and either your boyfriend is going to look at porn or he's going to look at you."
This article originally appeared on Cosmopolitan.co.uk. Minor edits have been made by the Cosmo.ph editors.