Former high school teacher, Christopher Brannan, has been sentenced to 34 months in prison for his part in the “Celebgate” hacking scandal which exposed the contents of over 200 iCloud, Yahoo, and Facebook accounts belonging to celebrities.
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 laid out the social engineering and phishing tactics Brannan used in the hackings in the official sentencing confirmation.
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.”
Brannan plead guilty to the charges last fall and prosecutors agreed to the 34-month sentence at that time. The sentence was originally set to begin on January 25. However, Senior U.S. District Judge Henry E. Hudson only now approved the deal.