The leak of hundreds of nude celebrity images on Sunday caused headlines around the world, and the person responsible for posting the images online has spoken out, claiming they are "not a hacker, just a collector".

In case you have been hiding under a stone for the last 24 hours, hundreds of images of celebrities such as Jennifer Lawrence, Kate Upton, Ariana Grande, and Kirsten Dunst were leaked online on the anonymous image board 4Chan, before being spread wider on sites like Imgur, Reddit and Twitter.

The leaker claimed the images came via Apple's iCloud storage service and that there were many more leaked images to come.

Lawrence publicly condemned the leaks and said the authorities had been informed, heaping pressure on the person responsible for the high profile leak.

More than 12 hours after initially leaking the images online a person using the same username returned to 4Chan to mount a defence against the widespread criticism:

"I didn't take the money and run. S**t got weird once I started posting samples," the leaker said in a statement.

Not a hacker, just a collector

The leaker claims that they are not a hacker, just a collector, and they were simply looking to recoup some of the money they paid to buy all the images in their collection by listing their bitcoin wallet address:

"People wanted s*** for free. Sure, I got $120 with my bitcoin address, but when you consider how much time was put into acquiring this stuff [I'm not the hacker, just a collector], and the money [I paid a lot via bitcoin as well to get certain sets when this stuff was being privately traded Friday/Saturday] I really didn't get close to what I was hoping."

Last week posts on the 4Chan offshoot, the pornographic AnonIB, (obtained by Gawker) show members touting explicit pictures and video of Jennifer Lawrence.

However the leaks seem to go back further than last week, with Deadspin reporting that it received a tip from an anonymous source "a few weeks ago" telling them about a major horde of leaked celebrity photos including some of Jennifer Lawrence, Alana Blanchard, Aubrey Plaza and Victoria Justice - all of whom have been named among the celebrities whose private photos have been compromised.

More celebrities at risk

While the fallout from the leaked Jennifer Lawrence photos will continue to escalate, there are indications that these images could be just the tip of the iceberg.

Members of AnonIB have been posting images of files crammed with what appear to be more stolen images of celebrities such as actresses Hayden Panettiere and Kate Bosworth.

It appears clear that the person who actually stole the images from these celebrities is not the same person who is now posting them online and looking to be paid to release more.

The authorities will no doubt be looking for all involved but identifying the person or persons who hacked into the celebrities' accounts may be more difficult than identifying the person who posted them online.