Application security, Vulnerability Management

Cybercrime Blotter: Majerczyk pleads guilty to hacking celeb email accounts

What happened? Edward Majerczyk on September 27 pleaded guilty to one count of unauthorized access to a protected computer to obtain information which brings to a close a case dubbed Celebgate. Majerczyk hacked into the computer devices of dozens of celebrities and others removing sensitive photos that eventually worked their way into the public realm.

Sentence: Sentencing is set for Jan. 10, 2017. Both sides agreed to a joint sentencing recommendation of nine months of imprisonment and possible restitution to the victims, according to court documents. The maximum sentence possible was five years in prison. 

Jurisdiction: The United States District Court, Northern District of Illinois Eastern Division.

Background? Majerczyk between or about Nov. 23, 2013 and Aug. 31, 2014 accessed without the owner's authorization the Apple iCloud and Gmail accounts of more than 300 people, including many female celebrities, obtaining private information to include photographs. The court document stated Majerczyk used a phishing scam to convince the victims that their ISP needed the usernames and passwords associated with their iCloud and Gmail accounts. A link would redirect the victims to a third-party site where they would leave their login information. Majerczyk would then go to this site and remove these credentials and use them to gain access to the victim's content.

Majercyk's plea follows follows the guilty plea of 36-year-old Ryan Collin, from Lancaster, Penn., in March 2016 as part of the Celebgate investigation. Collins admitted his role in gaining access and downloading photos from 50 iCloud accounts and 72 Gmail accounts. 

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