Romanian hacker Guccifer sentenced to 52 months in US prison

Lazar reportedly hacked a member of the Bush family and a former secretary of state

A Romanian hacker known as Guccifer has been sentenced to 52 months in prison after breaking into internet accounts of about 100 U.S. citizens, including government officials.

The 44-year-old Marcel Lehel Lazar was sentenced on Thursday. He was extradited from Romania and brought to court in the U.S., where he pleaded guilty to the hacking-related charges in May.

From Oct. 2012 to Jan. 2014, Lazar targeted the email and social media accounts of his U.S.-based victims, as a way to steal their personal information and email messages. That included hacking a family member of two former U.S. presidents and several former U.S. officials.

“In many instances, Lazar publicly released his victims’ private email correspondence, medical and financial information and personal photographs,” the Department of Justice said in a statement.

Although the department didn’t name Lazar’s victims, he reportedly hacked a member of the Bush family, in addition to former U.S. secretary of state Colin Powell.

Lazar, however, isn’t an expert hacker. He has admitted to having no programming skills. In an interview with online publication PandoDaily back in 2015, Lazar said he gained access to Powell’s AOL account by guessing his password.

He also claimed to have hacked Hillary Clinton’s private email server on two separate occasions. But according to the FBI, Lazar later admitted that this was a lie.

Still, a separate hack from Lazar provided evidence back in 2013 that Clinton maintained a private email server during her time as U.S. secretary of state.

Before Lazar was extradited to the U.S., he was already serving a seven-year prison sentence in Romania for raiding online accounts in his home country. It’s unclear if his U.S. sentencing will be served out separately.

In the meantime, another anonymous hacker has taken up his online handle and is calling himself Guccifer 2.0. He claims to have stolen sensitive files from the Democratic National Committee and has been leaking them online. However, some security experts suspect that Guccifer 2.0 may be a front for Russian state-sponsored hackers.

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Michael Kan

IDG News Service
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