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Hacker of Hollywood Celebrity Sentenced to Six Months in Prison

Los Angeles Times reports that in February, Andrew Helton was pleaded guilty for stealing around 161 personal photographs of 13 persons, after waging phishing campaign of two years for user's credentials. On Thursday, the sentence was announced by John A. Kronstadt, US District Judge.

Technique details used by Helton are not disclosed, but the prosecutors said that the victims received emails regarding account verification which they thought are probably from Google and Apple. The messages contained a link that directs to the malicious webpage, which poses as a genuine portal of account login. Helton used this technique to collect login as well as password details of 363 email accounts, including important individuals of the entertainment industry, from 2011 till the time of Helton's arrest in 2013.

A native of Pennsylvania, Ryan Collins, confessed that he also phished celebrities earlier in the year and then stole explicit photos. He pilfered images, comprising those of Kate Upton and Jennifier Lawrence, which are distributed online. Before Collin's case, Helton's case came up as his arrest was done way back in 2013 and authorities believe that his collection was never disclosed to public.

"He systematically searched for and stole intimate images and stored them in his own computer for personal use, which meant the victims continued to suffer as a result of his voyeurism", says Eileen M. Decker, US Attorney. He further added that, crime of Helton was a deep attack on privacy that causes real harm.

Helton faces up to 5 years prison for the crimes. He receives only 6 months because he kept the pictures only with him and did not leak these. Helton, in his defense, claimed that he suffered from mental issues which led him to this path. Softpedia.com posted on July 22nd, 2016, stating that Helton pleaded guilty in this February.

Helton explained that he regret for his act in a letter addressed to judge, but his hyper as well as obsessive-compulsive actions led to perform a scheme which he still himself does not understand completely.

He wrote that, "there was no expertise involved. All I did was essentially copy and paste". He also said that he did not target the people, but just found most of the contact listings online. The AP also reported that the lawyer of Helton argued that his client shouldn't receive the jail term because he used phishing technique that was rudimentary.

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