US indicts Romanian man alleged to be celebrity hacker 'Guccifer'

Marcel Lehel Lazar is accused of accessing online accounts of at least five prominent people

A Romanian man sentenced just last week in his own country for raiding online accounts linked to prominent politicians and celebrities was indicted Thursday in a U.S. federal court.

Marcel Lehel Lazar, a taxi driver from Arad, Romania, is charged with wire fraud, unauthorized access of a protected computer, aggravated identity theft, cyberstalking and obstruction of justice, according to the indictment, filed in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia.

Lazar was sentenced last week to a minimum of four years in prison in Romania for a high-profile hacking spree that ran from 2009 to 2013. His targets in Romania included the head of its secret service, George Maior.

Lazar, operating under the nickname "Guccifer," is alleged to have trolled Gmail, Yahoo, Facebook and AOL accounts belonging to politicians and celebrities.

The U.S. indictment does not describe how Lazar allegedly obtained access to the accounts, but accounts with weak passwords are often vulnerable to simple attacks that try different ones.

The indictment also does not name the five victims it references. But one of Guccifer's most notable scores is said to involve compromising an email account of an acquaintance of the Bush family.

Emails said to involve former U.S. President George H.W. Bush were published, including photographs of paintings by his son and former president, George W. Bush.

Lazar also allegedly compromised former Secretary of State Colin Powell's Facebook page and email accounts of entertainers Leonardo DiCaprio, Nicole Kidman and Steve Martin. He is also accused of impersonating one of his victims after compromising an account.

It wasn't clear from the DOJ's press release if the U.S. plans to file imminently an extradition request with Romania or wait until Lazar serves his sentence in Romania.

Send news tips and comments to jeremy_kirk@idg.com. Follow me on Twitter: @jeremy_kirk

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags CriminalU.S. Department of Justicesecuritydata breachlegalIdentity fraud / theftcybercrime

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Jeremy Kirk

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?