Celebrity Payment Data Hacker Charged

The U.S. filed criminal charges against a man accused of hacking into the bank and credit card accounts of celebrities from February 2012 to January 2015.

Reuters reported late last week that Peter Locsin, of Talisay City, Philippines, is believed to be behind a cybercrime scheme to compromise the accounts of several well-known individuals at three financial institutions.

U.S. prosecutors believe Locsin used websites, phone calls and other online means to illegally access the accounts and attempt to conduct wire transfers, purchase merchandise, change addresses and even add new cardholders.

The victim data that was compromised includes Social Security numbers, names and birthdates, but none of the victims were actually identified in the court documents, Reuters said.

Locsin faces charges of conspiracy to commit bank fraud and aggravated identity theft, with the conspiracy count alone carrying a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison.

A spokesman for U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman told Reuters that Locsin is being held in custody of authorities in the Philippines for charges that are unrelated to the current case.

Earlier this year, a hacker was formally charged with accessing both the iCloud and Google storage accounts of about 100 people and then using that access to steal and distribute personal information. Ultimately, it also resulted in the leak of nude photos of a host of celebrities.

On the hot seat is 36-year-old Ryan Collins, who, the U.S. Attorney for the Central District of California alleges, was behind a phishing scheme between Nov. 2012 and Sept. 2014. That scheme was intended to siphon usernames and passwords to at least 50 iCloud accounts and 72 Gmail accounts.

Court filings further note that Collins sent out emails that resembled official correspondence from Google and Apple — emails that were used to convince the unknowing to cough up details that could be used to access personal photos or, in some cases, entire phone backups. The charging documents also corroborate Apple’s claim that the iCloud itself had not been hacked and, instead, its individual users had been.


. . . . . . . .

Leave a Reply