Hacker Involved in ‘Celebgate’ Pleads Guilty, Faces Maximum Five Years in Prison
A hacker has pleaded guilty for his role in the "Celebgate" breach of 2014. Edward Majerczyk faces up to five years in federal prison for violating the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. Like fellow hacker Ryan Collins, the 28-year-old Majerczyk used a phishing scam to trick celebrities into entering their online credentials into fake 'security' sites. Majerczyk then used this information to illegally access more than 300 personal Gmail and iCloud accounts, retrieving private photos and videos from targets including celebrities. No individuals affected by the hack were named in court documents.
"[he] not only hacked into e-mail accounts — he hacked into his victims’ private lives."
"This defendant not only hacked into e-mail accounts — he hacked into his victims’ private lives, causing embarrassment and lasting harm," said FBI assistant director Deirdre Fike in a press statement. "As most of us use devices containing private information, cases like this remind us to protect our data."
Collins pleaded guilty to similar crimes in March with prosecutors agreeing to "a recommended prison term of 18 months." However, neither Majerczyk nor fellow hacker Collins have been charged with distributing the content they stole online, with the Department of Justice's press statement noting that "investigators have not uncovered any evidence linking Majerczyk to the actual leaks."