Stripped And Ripped: Hacked Celeb Nudes Hit The Internet

Hackers leak celebs nudes.
Source: Getty Images

Jun. 18 2019, Published 8:49 p.m. ET

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The unthinkable happened in 2014. Private photos and videos stored on celebrity cellphones were hacked and uploaded to the web — these were all intimate photos. Over 100 celebs were targeted such as Hayden Panettiere, Kaley Cuoco, Aubrey Plaza and Kate Upton. It even affected athletes and American Idol contestants. Here is the updated account of what happened.

MORE: Shocking Nude Photo Scandal: Jennifer Lawrence Reportedly ‘Horrified’ By Naked Picture Leak As Other Alleged Victims Speak Out

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So just what happened? Who were these hackers? What were their motives? And how did they pull it off? The FBI was on the case immediately as websites such as Reddit and 4chan posted the pictures.

MORE: Megyn Kelly, Jennifer Lawrence and More! The Most Shocking Celebrity Nude Photo Leaks Of All Time

The leaks came in two waves. What follows is a detailed list of how it all went down, how the pictures went up, how the celebs involved were understandably upset and how the men behind the hack were eventually caught and jailed.

1. The Beginning.

Selena Gomez attended the photocall for "The Dead Don't Die" during the 72nd annual Cannes Film Festival on May 15, 2019 in Cannes, France.
Source: Getty Images

According to Variety, on August 31, 2014, nude pictures of Jennifer Lawrence, Kate Upton, Selena Gomez, Ariana Grande and Kirsten Dunst were leaked to 4chan. The first wave had begun.

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2. Confirmation.

Robert De Niro, Jennifer Lawrence and director David O. Russell attended Tribeca Talks - Directors Series with David O. Russell and Jennifer Lawrence during the 2019 Tribeca Film Festival at BMCC Tribeca PAC on April 27, 2019 in New York City.
Source: Getty Images

Jennifer Lawrence’s spokesperson confirmed the pictures were real, saying, “The authorities have been contacted and will prosecute anyone who posts the stolen photos of Jennifer Lawrence.” She later told Vanity Fair that it was "a sex crime ... a sexual violation".

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3. Kate Upton.

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Source: Getty Images

Kate Upton’s rep had a similar response. According to Business Insider, the rep said it was "an outrageous violation of Upton's privacy" and promised, "to pursue anyone disseminating or duplicating these illegally obtained images to the fullest extent possible."

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4. Ariana Grande.

Ariana Grande performed at Coachella Stage during the 2019 Coachella Valley Music And Arts Festival on April 21, 2019 in Indio, California.
Source: Getty Images

Not every leaked celeb had the same reaction. According to Business Insider, Ariana Grande tweeted a message that read, “to every1 going on about my "nudes" & my "m&g prices" neither are real! my lil ass is a lot cuter than that lmao & tour details r comin soon.”

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5. Victoria Justice.

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Source: Getty Images

Nickelodeon star and fellow hacking victim Victoria Justice also claimed that some of the nudes of her were fake. She tweeted, “These so called nudes of me are FAKE people. Let me nip this in the bud right now. *pun intended*.”

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6. The Second Wave.

Hayden Panettiere arrived at the The 21st Annual Critics' Choice Awards at Barker Hangar on January 17, 2016 in Santa Monica, California.
Source: Getty Images

A few weeks later a second wave of nude photos was leaked that, according to BuzzFeed, included Hayden Panettiere, Kaley Cuoco, Rihanna and Avril Lavigne.

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7. Underage Nudes.

McKayla Maroney attended The New York Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children's 2018 Spring Luncheonat The Pierre Hotel on April 17, 2018 in New York City.
Source: Getty Images

According to BuzzFeed, one of the targets, gymnast McKayla Maroney, had her nudes deleted by Reddit after they realized she was underage when the pictures were taken. Moderators said, "It is considered CP (Child Pornography).”

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8. Kaley Cuoco.

The Cast Of "The Big Bang Theory" Placed Their Handprints In The Cement At The TCL Chinese Theatre IMAX Forecourt held on May 1, 2019 in Hollywood, California.
Source: Getty Images

According to Business Insider, Kaley Cuoco learned that naked pictures of her had been hacked and uploaded thanks to a Google alert that lets her know when people are talking about her.

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9. Lighthearted Approach.

Kaley Cuoco arrived to the 76th Annual Golden Globe Awards held at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on January 6, 2019
Source: Getty Images

Cuoco told Jimmy Kimmel that "it was a really bad situation," but that she decided to "take it into my own hands and ... joke about it, because what else are you going to do? You have to make fun of yourself."

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10. Mary Elizabeth Winstead.

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Source: Getty Images

A Good Day To Die Hard actress Mary Elizabeth Winstead — one of the hacking victims — took to Twitter to respond. According to BuzzFeed she said, “To those of you looking at photos I took with my husband years ago in the privacy of our home, hope you feel great about yourselves.”

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11. Gabrielle Union.

Dwyane Wade and Gabrielle Union attended Spectrum Originals and Sony Pictures Television Premiere Party for "L.A.'s Finest" at Sunset Tower on May 10, 2019 in Los Angeles, California
Source: Getty Images

According to Vibe, another victim of the leak, Gabrielle Union, penned an open letter for Cosmopolitan that read in part, “All of the pictures had been shot and deleted years ago. Yet there they were, online for the world to see. I felt extreme anxiety, a complete loss of control. I suddenly understood that deleting things means nothing. You think it's gone? It's not.”

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12. Meagan Good.

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Source: Getty Images

Another leak victim was Meagan Good who, according to Variety, took to Instagram to post her feelings. She said, “For everyone who’s reposting the leaked nudes? You should be ashamed of yourself.”

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13. Kim Kardashian.

Kim Kardashian attended The Metropolitan Museum Of Art's 2019 Costume Institute Benefit "Camp: Notes On Fashion" at Metropolitan Museum of Art on May 6, 2019 in New York City.
Source: Getty Images

Kim Kardashian didn’t escape either. According to BuzzFeed, she was nude in her bathroom without her wedding ring on. And according to Huffington Post, she told the BBC, “I think it’s a wake-up call for people to make sure they have every privacy setting. It seems like there are a lot of people that love to spend their time hacking peoples’ information and that’s just a scary thing.”

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14. How Did It Happen?

A hacker hacking.
Source: Getty Images

According to The Breeze, it was believed a ring of anonymous hackers had gained access to these celebrity accounts by guessing passwords and successfully answering the security questions.

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15. The Hacker.

In this photo illustration, the American file hosting service company owned by Apple, Icloud, logo is seen displayed on an Android mobile device with a figure of hacker in the background.
Source: Getty Images

One of the hackers known as “Original Guy” posted on AnonIB (an image message board that trades in pornographic pictures) that he’d be moving and asked for Bitcoin donations. He also wrote, “Guys, just to let you know I didn’t do this by myself … there are several other people who were in on it.”

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16. Caught.

Symbol photo on the topics of hackers, hacker attacks, security, computer security, espionage, economy espionage, industrial espionage, cyber crime, etc. The picture shows a padlock on a computer keyboard
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Two years later, in 2016, Ryan Collins from Pennsylvania was accused — by the US attorney’s office — of using a phishing scam sending emails that looked like official Apple or Google messages. According to the BBC, Collins pleaded guilty to felony hacking and violating the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act and was sentenced to 18 months in prison. But who were the others?

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17. Behind Bars.

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Source: Getty Images

It turns out there were indeed more — three more — behind the hack known on some sites as The Fappening. In 2018, according to the Verge, George Garofano was sentenced to 8 months in prison. Edward Majerczyk pleaded guilty and got 9 months in prison. And Emilio Herrera also pleaded guilty and got 8 months.

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