After pleading guilty last fall to hacking over 200 iCloud, Yahoo, and Facebook accounts, former high school teacher, Christopher Brannan, has been sentenced to 34 months in prison.
As we previously reported, Brannan is the fifth individual to be charged with a role in the 2014 Celebgate hacking. As spotted by AppleInsider, Brannan’s almost 3-year prison sentence comes from charges of identify theft as well as unauthorized access to protected computers.
The US Attorney’s Office Eastern District of Virginia detailed his social engineering and phishing tactics used in the hackings in the official confirmation of his sentencing.
Brannan hacked email accounts by answering security questions that he could easily research by reviewing victims’ Facebook accounts.
Brannan also gained access to victims’ accounts by using phishing email accounts designed to look like legitimate security accounts from Apple. Because of the victims’ belief that the email had come from Apple, the victims would provide their usernames and passwords. Brannan would then access the victims’ email accounts, and search for personal information such as sensitive and private photographs and videos, including nude photographs. Authorities identified Brannan as a suspect during a California-based FBI investigation into hacked iCloud accounts commonly known as “Celebgate.”
Prosecutors agreed on the 34-month prison sentence last fall, and was originally set to begin on January 25th. However, the sentence was just now accepted by Senior U.S. District Judge Henry E. Hudson.