Celebrity Hacker Gets Six Months in Prison

A federal judge sentenced a man to six months in federal prison Thursday for hacking into hundreds of Apple and Google accounts and stealing scores of personal photos, including some belonging to celebrities.

U.S. District Judge John A. Kronstadt also issued a $3,000 fine to Andrew Helton, who pleaded guilty to a federal hacking charge in February, according to the U.S. attorney's office in Los Angeles.

Helton, a 29-year-old resident of Portland, Ore., acknowledged that for two years starting in March 2011 he operated a phishing scheme that gave him usernames and passwords for 363 email accounts, prosecutors said.

As part of the ruse, he sent emails that asked Apple and Google users to "verify" their accounts. After clicking on the link, the users would see a faux log-in page for Apple or Google and would unwittingly hand over their login information by entering their password and username, according to court documents.

With the private information, Helton canvassed the email accounts and retrieved 161 nude or partially nude images from more than a dozen people, including well-known figures in the entertainment industry who reside in the area.

"He systematically searched for and stole intimate images and stored them in his own computer for personal use, which meant the victims continued to suffer as a result of his voyeurism," U.S. Atty. Eileen M. Decker said. "Helton's crime was a deep invasion of privacy that caused real harm."

The victims of Helton's scheme were not named by prosecutors. One victim, identified as "R" in court papers, submitted a letter to the judge attesting to the harm done by the hack.

"It has caused me sleepless nights and a lot of stress which ultimately affected my work," the person wrote. "I felt extremely violated, something that was so personal was taken from me."

Before the judge imposed the prison term, defense...

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