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Romanian Hacker "Guccifer" Sentenced to Prison in US

Marcel Lehel Lazar, the 44-year-old Romanian national known online as the hacker “Guccifer,” has been sentenced by a U.S. court to 52 months in prison for aggravated identity theft and unauthorized access to a protected computer.

Guccifer became famous after hacking the online accounts of numerous public figures, including members of the Bush family, former Secretary of State Colin Powell, journalists, actors, former members of the U.S. Cabinet and the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, and a former presidential advisor. Lazar also claimed to have hacked Hillary Clinton’s private email server, although he did not provide any proof to back his claims.

Lazar was arrested in January 2014 in Romania, where he had been previously handed a suspended sentence for hacking into the accounts of local celebrities. In June 2014, shortly after pleading guilty, he was sentenced by a Romanian court to 7 years in prison for accessing the email accounts of politician Corina Cretu and the head of the country’s intelligence service, George Maior.

Romania approved the United States’ extradition request in March 2016 and Lazar made his first court appearance in the U.S. a few weeks later. He pleaded guilty to identity theft and computer hacking charges in May.

According to U.S. authorities, the hacker admitted that he had breached the email and social media accounts of roughly 100 Americans between October 2012 and January 2014. In many cases, he made public the files stolen from the compromised accounts, including emails, personal photos and financial information.

Lazar is not the only celebrity hacker sentenced in recent weeks in the United States. In July, 29-year-old Andrew Helton of Portland, Oregon, got a six-month prison sentence for hacking hundreds of email accounts, including ones belonging to celebrities. Several other individuals await sentencing for similar crimes.

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Eduard Kovacs (@EduardKovacs) is a contributing editor at SecurityWeek. He worked as a high school IT teacher for two years before starting a career in journalism as Softpedia’s security news reporter. Eduard holds a bachelor’s degree in industrial informatics and a master’s degree in computer techniques applied in electrical engineering.