Romanian hacker Guccifer sentenced to 52 months in US prison

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2 September 2016 | 0

A Romanian hacker known as Guccifer has been sentenced to 52 months in prison after breaking into Internet accounts of about 100 US citizens, including government officials.

The 44-year-old Marcel Lehel Lazar was sentenced on Thursday. He was extradited from Romania and brought to court in the US, where he pleaded guilty to the hacking-related charges in May.

From October 2012 to January 2014, Lazar targeted the e-mail and social media accounts of his US-based victims, as a way to steal their personal information and e-mail messages. That included hacking a family member of two former US presidents and several former US officials.

“In many instances, Lazar publicly released his victims’ private e-mail correspondence, medical and financial information and personal photographs,” the Dept of Justice said in a statement.

Although the department didn’t name Lazar’s victims, he reportedly hacked a member of the Bush family, in addition to former US Secretary of State Colin Powell.

Lazar, however, isn’t an expert hacker. He has admitted to having no programming skills. In an interview with online publication PandoDaily back in 2015, Lazar said he gained access to Powell’s AOL account by guessing his password.

He also claimed to have hacked Hillary Clinton’s private e-mail server on two separate occasions. But according to the FBI, Lazar later admitted that this was a lie.

Still, a separate hack from Lazar provided evidence back in 2013 that Clinton maintained a private e-mail server during her time as US secretary of state.

Before Lazar was extradited to the US, he was already serving a seven-year prison sentence in Romania for raiding online accounts in his home country. It’s unclear if his US sentencing will be served out separately.

In the meantime, another anonymous hacker has taken up his online handle and is calling himself Guccifer 2.0. He claims to have stolen sensitive files from the Democratic National Committee and has been leaking them online. However, some security experts suspect that Guccifer 2.0 may be a front for Russian state-sponsored hackers.

IDG News Service

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