Romanian hacker known for leaking naked self-portraits of George W. Bush charged by federal grand jury.
A Virginia federal grand jury issued an indictment on Thursday against Romanian hacker Marcel Lehel Lazar, also known as “Guccifer.”
Lazar, 42, is widely known for allegedly hacking former president George W. Bush’s emails – along with other family members and prominent government officials such as Colin Powell – including the release of several private photos of the former president’s personal paintings.
The U.S. Department of Justice issued a statement on Thursday listing Lazar’s charges, which included wire fraud, unauthorized access to a protected computer, aggravated identity theft, cyberstalking, and obstruction of justice.
“After gaining unauthorized access to their e-mail and social media accounts, Lazar publicly released his victims’ private e-mail correspondence, medical and financial information, and personal photographs,” said the statement released by the Department of Justice’s Office of Public Affairs. “The indictment also alleges that in July and August 2013, Lazar impersonated a victim after compromising the victim’s account.”
According to documents sent to the news site The Smoking Gun, Lazar’s victims allegedly ranged from high-ranking U.S. government officials to comedian Stephen Martin and the CEO of MetLife.
Lazar is reported to have used simple methods for breaking into email accounts, such as guessing the answers to password reset questions using information widely accessible online.
Along with uncovering a series of paintings by former president Bush, the hacker claimed to have accessed the cell phone numbers and email address of prominent figures and celebrities. He published stolen information implying there was an affair between Colin Powell and Romanian politician Corina Cretu and also accessed private memos from Hillary Clinton concerning the Benghazi scandal.
Lazar is currently serving up to seven years in a Romanian prison for hacking crimes against Romanian citizens.
Department of Justice spokesman Peter Carr refused to comment on whether or not the United States would seek to extradite Lazar to face trial.