Graded "F" for fraud: Christopher Brannan, a former teacher at Lee-Davis High School, has pleaded guilty to unauthorized access to a protected computer and aggravated identity theft in relation to "Celebgate," the Department of Justice (DoJ) reports.
Authorities named Brannan as a suspect in Celebgate, a Los Angeles-based FBI investigation into hacked iCloud accounts, but his victims included celebrities and noncelebrities alike. Brannan gained unauthorized access to online accounts including iCloud, Yahoo!, and Facebook, and in doing so obtained iCloud backups, photos, and personal data of 200+ victims.
Brannan broke into victims' email accounts by researching answers to security questions on their Facebook profiles. He created spoofed email addresses designed to appear as though they came from Apple's security team, and sent phishing emails to gain usernames and passwords. He used the stolen credentials to break into targets' email accounts, the DoJ explains in a statement.
He faces a mandatory minimum of two years in prison for the aggravated identity theft charge, which officials say will run consecutively to any sentence he receives for unauthorized access to a protected computer. The total possible punishment is seven years behind bars.
Read more details here.
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