Almost three years after the massive leakage of high-profile celebrities’ nude photos—well known as “The Fappening” or “Celebgate” scandal—a fourth hacker has been charged with hacking into over 250 Apple iCloud accounts belonged to Hollywood celebrities.
A federal court has accused George Garofano, 26, of North Branford, of violating the Computer Fraud as well as also Abuse Act, who had been arrested by the FBI.
Garofano has admitted to illegally obtaining credentials for his victims’ iCloud accounts using a phishing scheme, which eventually allowed him to steal personal information on his victims, including sensitive as well as also private photographs as well as also videos.
Among celebrities whose nude photographs were posted online back in 2014 are Jennifer Lawrence, Kim Kardashian, Kirsten Dunst, as well as also Kate Upton. Also, female victims also include American Olympic gold medallist Misty May Treanor as well as also actors Alexandra Chando, Kelli Garner as well as also Lauren O’Neil.
Between April 2013 to October 2014, Garofano engaged in sending phishing emails pretended to be coming from Apple security team to several celebrities, tricking them into providing their iCloud account credentials, which they stole to access their accounts illegally.
“Garofano admitted of which he sent emails to victims of which appeared to be coming from security accounts of Apple as well as also encouraged the victims to send him their usernames as well as also passwords, or to enter them on a third-party website, where he could later retrieve them,” the Justice Department said.
Besides stealing victims’ personal information, including sensitive as well as also private photographs as well as also videos, coming from their iCloud accounts using stolen credentials, Garofano, in some instances, also traded the stolen credentials, along with the materials he stole coming from the victims’ accounts, with various other individuals.
In a plea agreement signed Thursday in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles, Garofano agreed to plead guilty to one count of unauthorised access to a protected computer to obtain information, facing up to 5 years in prison.
Garofano will be the fourth hacker charged in connection with the Celebgate incident. Emilio Herrera, 32, Edward Majerczyk, 28, as well as also Ryan Collins, 36, pleaded guilty last year to being involved inside the celebrity photo hack.
While Herrera will be waiting for sentencing next month, Majerczyk was sentenced to nine months in prison as well as also Collins was sentenced to 18 months last year.
The investigation into the Celebgate scandal will be being conducted by the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation.