A second man has pleaded guilty to using phishing scams to access the iCloud and Gmail accounts of over 300 people, including 30 celebrities, between November 23, 2013 and August 2014. The charge is part of a federal investigation into the leak of explicit photos of Hollywood actresses in September 2014.
28-year-old Chicago, Illinois resident Edward Majerczyk admitted to the felony computer hacking charge in his plea agreement entered in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California.
Majerczyk used phishing schemes in which he sent emails claiming to be from internet service providers. The mails directed the receivers to a website that collected their usernames and passwords, which enabled him to access their “sensitive and private photos and videos.”
The plea deal will see Majerczyk’s sentence reduced from 5 years to between 6 to 12 months. Sentencing will take place once the case transfers to Illinois in a few weeks time.
Three months ago, Ryan Collins of Lancaster, Pennsylvania pleaded guilty to similar hacking charges related to “Celebgate.” The 36-year-old broke into 50 iCloud and 72 Gmail accounts, most of them belonging to female celebrities, by sending out emails in which he posed as an Apple or Google employee and stealing login credentials.
The celebrities who had their nude images posted included Jennifer Lawrence, Rihanna, Scarlet Johansson, Gabrielle Union, Kim Kardashian, Hillary Duff, Jenny McCarthy, Kate Upton, Hope Solo, Victoria Justice and many others.
Despite the guilty pleas, there is no evidence that either man was involved in leaking the images and videos online. And surprisingly, there’s nothing that suggests the two of them were working together.