Federal agents raided a Chicago home Tuesday, seizing several computers belonging to a hacker believed to be linked to the massive nude celebrity photo leak, which led to nearly 100 actresses private photos begin leaked online for several months.
The unknown hacker randomly began leaking the explicit photos on 4Chan and Reddit, where the hacker claimed to have hijacked celebrities iCloud accounts for months prior, harvesting hundreds of photos of the celebrities.
No arrests have been made in regards to the FBI raid, but someone in the Chicago home is believed to have used a computer to steal “nude and sexually explicit photographs of dozens of female celebrities,” Special Agent, Josh Sedowsky, apart of the FBI CyberCrime Unit said in his affidavit to obtain a search warrant for the house.
According to Sedowsky, an IP address traced to Jesus Herrera “was used to access approximately 572 unique iCloud accounts,” between May 2013 to August 2014. The IP traced was used for 4,980 attacks against accounts using over 1,987 different passwords. “In total, the unique iCloud accounts were accessed 3,263 times,” the document read.
Some of the actresses targeted in Herrera’s attacks were locked out of their iCloud accounts for a short period of time before their photos were stolen, as Herrera would hack into the account and change the password.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) believes people living in the Chicago home had access to celebrities’ emails and cloud storage accounts for several months prior to the leak. Two others, Carmen Herrera and Martin Herrera are also believed to live in the home, Sedowsky said.
In the legal complaint, victimized actresses were based on initials such as A.S., C.H., H.S., A.K. among others. Which could mean Abigail Spencer, Christina Hendricks, Hope Solo, and Anna Kendrick. Presumably for the privacy of those who were affected.
In a Chicago Sun-Times article, reporters got a hold of an affidavit currently under seal, referring to the initials J.L., which is believed to be Jennifer Lawrence.
In the file, it reports Lawrence got so distraught during an FBI interview on her leaked photos, agents had to stop mid-way through the interview.
Hacked accounts involved mostly actresses the FBI said, but other accounts Herrera’s IP accessed “were accounts of celebrities, models or their friends and families,” the FBI reported.
According to interviews from the FBI, some affected actresses recall getting locked out of their accounts for a short period of time prior to the leaks coming out.
Apple’s iCloud investigation concluded actresses accounts had been accessed due to weak passwords and phishing attempts. Actresses were told to follow instructions and reset their password, leading the FBI to conclude that hackers gained access to their accounts through phishing emails, tricking the victims into sending the hacker their information.