It was initially believed that the images were obtained using an exploit in the service.
The leak has been popularly dubbed The Fappening and also Celebgate.
Critics felt the distribution of the images was a major invasion of privacy for their subjects, while some of the allegedly depicted subjects denied their authenticity.
During the investigation, it was found that Collins phished by sending e-mails to the victims that looked like they had been sent by Apple or Google, warning the victims that their accounts might be compromised and asking for their account details.
Celebrities who confirmed the photos' authenticity include confirmed by her publicist , and her husband confirmed by Upton's lawyer , confirmed via , confirmed by spokesman , confirmed via Instagram , and , who also criticized the iCloud service.