After 2 years, one of the Fappening’s protagonists has been caught by the FBI and is expected to spend up to 5 years in Federal prison.
Emilio Herrera, with 32 years of age from Chicago was one of the protagonists and lead actors of the Fappening, where hundreds of very erotic images of celebrities were released publicly for the world to see. This Chicago man has agreed to plead guilty for illegally accessing into more than five hundred Gmail and iCloud accounts, including those of multiple types “A” celebrities in 2014.
Emilio Herrera could face a maximum sentence of 5 years in Federal prison for the act of breaking into a protected computer to obtain information without any sort of authorization.
Herrera’s method included using a phishing system that would trick his victims into revealing their true access data by sending fake electronic mails that disguised as Google or Apple according to his confession. Once those affected answered and introduced their credentials, Herrera used them to break into their Gmail and iCloud accounts, which allowed him to search through their accounts and illegally extract any data including photos, messages, videos, conversations, etc. In addition to this, Herrera had a great amount of patience to pull this off, performing this scheme from April 27, 2013, until August 2014.
Some of the victims included very high profile celebrities such as Kate Upton, Jennifer Lawrence, Cara Delevigne, Kirsten Dunst, US soccer player Hope Solo and the very popular Kim Kardashian.
The stolen data was initially posted on the image forum 4chan where it had great impact and was quickly spread across numerous websites and underground social networks such as Tumblr, Reddit, and Imgur. After the release of the photos, the affected demanded an investigation, and the FBI began the investigation on these phenomena, known as “Celebgate” or “Fappening” which included the illegal public release of hundreds of personal photos and important information from Gmail and iCloud accounts.
On the topic of the celebrities, many described the leak as a crime and furiously assessed this matter in interviews. Especially the Oscar winning actress Jennifer Lawrence, who labeled the ‘Fappening’ as a “sex crime” in an interview from 2014.
Further declaring then, “The fact that I’m a public figure does not mean that I asked for this,” she said in the interview. Adding, “It’s my body, and it’s my choice. I can’t believe that we even live in this kind of world.”
Edward Majerczyk a 29-year-old man from Illinois, has been declared guilty over similar charges and forced to spend 9 months in federal prison. Another man from Lancaster, Pennsylvania, named Ryan Collins was sentenced in October last year, to 18 months in Federal prison. However, for Herrera’s case and according to court documents, there is still no evidence linking him to the online links or that he uploaded or shared the material.