Hacker Pleads Guilty for Stealing Nude Images of Celebrities, Not the Fappening Author
Andrew Helton, aged 29, was charged of accessing naked pictures of Hollywood stars, and also was detained under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act on felony hacking charges. The resident of Portland, very surprisingly, has pleaded guilty according to charges.
As per the statement of police, Hollywood stars were targeted by Helton with the help of social engineering. Helton send emails to these Hollywood stars claiming to be from Apple and Google, and then used the credentials collected through fake means to gain entry to their personal email/Google Albums/iCloud. As per U.S. Department of Justice, he tricked hundreds of stars to provide him their passwords and usernames.
Helton gained unlawful access to 363 Gmail and Apple accounts, with the help of this basic phishing campaign. The hacker checked all inbox, looking for sensitive information. As per FBI agents, Helton found and stole 161 sexually explicit or naked images of 13 victims.
Softpedia.com posted on February 21st, 2016, quoting FBI as saying that a lot of these victims were entertainment industry members staying in Los Angeles. But, the Bureau did not disclose their identities.
Spokesman of DOJ, Thom Mrozek, says that they do not have any evidence about online posting of photos, nor do they have any proof that he was shopping them around to any tabloids.
The case although comparable to the Fappening or Celebgate that shook Hollywood during September 2014, varies in many ways. The case predates Fappening by nearly one year, and Helton did not release the photos which he accessed unlike the hackers of Fappening who accessed over 600 accounts of Hollywood stars. The hackers of Fappening progressed to leak naked images of Hollywood stars like Kim Kardashian, Kirsten Dunst, Jennifer Lawrence, Kaley Cuoco, Kate Upton, and several others on the Internet.
Helton is not responsible for those nude photos and video leaks. Two different hackers from Chicago, namely Emilio Herrera and Ed Majerczyk, are suspected for the Fappening leaks. Helton pleaded guilty of illegal access to a secured PC to acquire information, which is a felony violation under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act.
Helton's sentencing is planned on June 2nd, 2016, and he might face imprisonment up to five years for these crimes.
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