CHICAGO, Sept. 29 (UPI) — A Chicago man has pleaded guilty to the hacking and illegally accessing of hundreds of people’s email and Apple iCloud accounts. At least 30 celebrities were part of the scheme, authorities said Wednesday.
Edward Majerczyk, 28, pleaded guilty to computer fraud in an Illinois federal court, the U.S. Attorney’s office said in a statement. Majerczyk operated a phishing scheme between Nov. 2013 and Aug., 2014 by sending fake emails from what appeared to be the internet provider to the victims.
He eventually got the usernames and passwords of more than 300 Gmail accounts or Apple iCloud accounts. At least 30 of the accounts belonged to celebrities in Los Angeles, though prosecutors did not identify them. The information he obtained included photos, videos and personal data, federal prosecutors said.
Majerczyk is scheduled for sentencing Jan. 10 and could face up to five years in prison, though will likely serve a year or less, according to court documents.
“The defendant’s acceptance of responsibility for his role in the intrusion of his victims’ accounts and their personal lives is a welcome development in this continuing investigation,” said the FBI’s Deirdre Fike in a statement.
“All of us who use personal phones or devices must protect our data with strong passwords and two-factor authentication, as well as to be cautious of solicitations that can compromise our private information.”