Celebgate may have been two years ago, but cops are still working to ensure that those responsible for the crime pay for their actions.
In case you’ve forgotten, the incident involved hackers stealing private photos from famous folks’ iCloud accounts, with much of the content ending up online.
Chicago resident Edward Majerczyk has become the second individual to be charged in connection with the crime, and has agreed to plead guilty in an effort to receive a reduced sentence. The crime would ordinarily result in up to five years of jail time, though the plea agreement means a maximum of 12 months is more likely. Sentencing takes place in the coming weeks.
It’s believed that Majerczyk, 28, used a phishing scam to get hold of login information from more than 300 targeted victims across a nine-month period between November 2013 and August 2014. The emails looked as if they had been sent by the victims’ internet service providers and tricked them into giving away their usernames and passwords.
This gave Majerczyk access to their iCloud and/or Gmail accounts, enabling him to nab personal information that included “sensitive and private photographs and videos” belonging to at least 30 celebrities, according to a statement released by the U.S. Attorney’s Office. The celebrities weren’t named in the court documents.
Majerczyk has agreed to plead guilty to one count of unauthorized access to a protected computer to obtain information. However, the Attorney’s Office noted that investigators had been unable to find any evidence linking Majerczyk to the actual leaks of the stolen content.
“This defendant not only hacked into e-mail accounts – he hacked into his victims’ private lives, causing embarrassment and lasting harm,” the FBI’s Deirdre Fike said. “As most of us use devices containing private information, cases like this remind us to protect our data. Members of society whose information is in demand can be even more vulnerable, and directly targeted.”
In March, Ryan Collins pleaded guilty to using a similar technique to steal compromising material linked to mainly famous women, though it’s not thought Majerczyk and Collins operated together at any point.
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