The US Department of Justice has charged a fourth suspect for hacking Hollywood celebrities and leaking nude photographs and videos in a 2014 incident referred to as The Fappening or Celebgate.
The man is George Garofano, 26, of Northford, Connecticut, who already pleaded guilty to one count of unauthorized access to a protected computer to obtain information.
He is the fourth man charged or sentenced by US authorities for the Fappening leaks. The first was Ryan Collins, 36, of Lancaster, Pennsylvania (sentenced to 18 months in federal prison); the second is Edward Majerczyk, 29, of Chicago, Illinois (sentenced to nine months in federal prison); and the third is Emilio Herrera, 32, of Chicago, Illinois (pleaded guilty and awaiting sentencing next month).
Authorities did not say if Garofano worked with the other three, but said that between April 2013 through October 2014 Garafono used phishing emails posing as Apple's security department to trick victims into giving in their iCloud credentials.
The FBI says that Garofano obtained credentials and accessed over 250 Apple iCloud accounts from where he downloaded personal images. Investigators say Garofano later traded the account usernames and passwords to others, along with materials he downloaded from the hacked accounts.
Most of the accounts Garofano obtained access to belonged to members of the entertainment industry in Los Angeles, but also to many local Connecticut victims.
Photos that the suspect obtained later ended up online as part of a mega leak of nude images and videos from Hollywood celebrities.
Similarly to the three previous hackers arrested during the Fappening investigation, Garofano said he only obtained the images but was not the one who leaked them online.
None of the four arrested suspects wanted to admit to this charge as some of the photos leaked during the Fappening were made when some of the celebrities were under age, and a charge of distributing child pornography would carry a substantial prison sentence. Under the current charge, Garofano faces a prison sentence of up to five years in prison.
The September 2014 Fappening saw the leak of nude images and videos from celebrities such as Jennifer Lawrence, Kate Upton, Kirsten Dunst, McKayla Maroney, Kaley Cuoco, and others who never confirmed the photos, so we're not going to name them here.
Since then, hackers have constantly leaked new nude photos of celebrities. Many of these later incidents have also been called The Fappening 2, but none have been as massive in size as the first. Softpedia has been tracking recent leaks.