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Man Behind Hacks of Bush Family and Other Celebs Indicted In the US

Soulskill posted about 5 months ago | from the bet-you-wish-you'd-stood-in-bed dept.

Crime 65

New submitter criticalmass24 writes: 42-year-old Marcel Lehel Lazar, better known as Guccifer, the hacker that gained unauthorized access to email and social network accounts of high-profile public figures, has been charged in the United States. According to the Department of Justice, "[F]rom December 2012 to January 2014, Lazar hacked into the e-mail and social media accounts of high-profile victims, including a family member of two former U.S. presidents, a former U.S. Cabinet member, a former member of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, and a former presidential adviser. 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. The indictment also alleges that in July and August 2013, Lazar impersonated a victim after compromising the victim’s account." The full indictment can be read online.

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Ain't that a bitch? (5, Funny)

korbulon (2792438) | about 5 months ago | (#47229945)

Having complete strangers being able to pry into all your personal data and intercept your private communications.

Why there oughta be a law, mister. There really should.

Re:Ain't that a bitch? (2, Insightful)

chinton (151403) | about 5 months ago | (#47229991)

Two wrongs... etc, etc, etc...

Re:Ain't that a bitch? (1)

Lord Lemur (993283) | about 5 months ago | (#47230043)

goose meet gander

Re:Ain't that a bitch? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47230081)

goose meet gander

Goslings! Wow, they didn't waste ANY time, little pre-geese everywhere!

Re:Ain't that a bitch? (1)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about 5 months ago | (#47230691)

Multiple Goslings? Wasn't one Java enough?!

Re:Ain't that a bitch? (1)

gstoddart (321705) | about 5 months ago | (#47230115)

Two wrongs... etc, etc, etc...

Most of us have no sympathy whatsoever for the people who have initiated widespread surveillance of us.

That being said, hacking into anything related to a former president is pretty much epic on the Really Stupid Things To Do scale.

Re:Ain't that a bitch? (0)

mi (197448) | about 5 months ago | (#47230661)

Most of us have no sympathy whatsoever for the people who have initiated widespread surveillance of us.

Thankfully, our current President is both technologically-savvy [computerworld.com] to understand the problem and committed to openness and transparency in government [whitehouse.gov] to want to fix it. Is not he?

Re:Ain't that a bitch? (0)

korbulon (2792438) | about 5 months ago | (#47230161)

double standards, pot and kettle, hoof and mouth, rule of law, ET CETERA ET CETERA.

Re:Ain't that a bitch? (1)

u-235-sentinel (594077) | about 5 months ago | (#47230491)

So should OUR private info receive similar handling by unauthorized people, would the justice system give the same consideration or is this just for high ranking figures such as the Bushs.

Yeah I know the answer. But asking the question as I believe we would have minimal justice for the same crime against everyday people if we were lucky.

Do it right next time (5, Insightful)

Opportunist (166417) | about 5 months ago | (#47229975)

If you want to invade the privacy of people and sniff through their most intimate of details, get a job with the government.

Re:Do it right next time (3, Insightful)

i kan reed (749298) | about 5 months ago | (#47230141)

Yes, there's a number of things the Government retains a monopoly on, by intent. Argument by hypocrisy doesn't make sense for criticism of the government*.

"Want to forcibly enter people's homes? Get a job with the government."
"Want to kill another human being? Get a job with the government."
"Want to demand money from another person? Get a job with the government."

These are normal behaviors practiced by parts of every government in the world(except maybe Lichtenstein, the Vatican, etc). Now I'm all for shutting all the bullshit the NSA does down, and wish our democracy was better engineered to allow that, but the structure of the argument you're using is absurd.

*I know it's a joke, this post is more directed at the people modding it insightful, as if this is some meaningful argument.

Re:Do it right next time (4, Insightful)

Opportunist (166417) | about 5 months ago | (#47230223)

The difference is maybe that a legitimate government does all that with a warrant and oversight. You know, where a judge has to ponder whether it's ok to violate someone's privacy. The older ones here may remember the time when we had a government like that.

Re:Do it right next time (2)

i kan reed (749298) | about 5 months ago | (#47230329)

I get that. I made it clear I support that notion. I am simply saying that this argument in favor of the correct conclusion is fallacious.

Re:Do it right next time (1)

Concerned Onlooker (473481) | about 5 months ago | (#47230859)

I had a completely different read on Opportunist's post. The "want" turns it into an indictment on the moral character of government officials involved in such activities. In other words, it's not about the government reserving rights to certain activities but rather about the perceived low moral character of those in charge.

Those activities may sometimes be necessary, but wanting to do them is sick.

Re:Do it right next time (3, Insightful)

Opportunist (166417) | about 5 months ago | (#47231049)

With a job like this, your moral integrity becomes crucial, at least in my opinion. You are given a LOT of power. You may do what others may not do. You are granted permissions that others don't get for good reason, because it is easy to abuse them and it is hard to prove that abuse. NOT abusing such power in such an environment takes a pretty high personal morality.

"Liking" and "wanting" something is not per se a problem. The reason WHY you like and want to have a job like this, is. Personally, I love hacking. It's fun and rewarding to outsmart a server's logic and to outwit the programmer who came up with its locks. It's interesting to pit your mind against that of the admin trying to secure it. It's not a moral question whether you like breaking a server's security. The moral question is where you do it and what you do when you succeed. The "good" moral way is to do it on machines you have the permission to, and to stop the moment you broke the lock. The "bad" way is to do it on machines you don't have permission for or to not stop and sniff through the files you just opened up. Essentially, to force an analogy with doors and locks, do you stop when the door is open and tell the owner who asked you to test whether his lock can keep someone out that he should get a better lock (preferably with a few tidbits of information what to look for in a good one), or do you first take a trip through his (or her, depending on your preference) underwear drawer?

Likewise, I don't think that wanting to join a force where you might at some point get to invade someone's privacy is a problem itself. The question is why you want to join such a force. Because you want to outsmart a criminal, or because you want to sniff through the private belongings of anyone, criminal or not.

Re:Do it right next time (1)

Concerned Onlooker (473481) | about 5 months ago | (#47232139)

I think it's interesting that you got modded up for repeating my post. I guess I wasn't explicit enough.

Re:Do it right next time (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47233731)

But, He went like this -- /*gesticulates up and down with open palm
rest of room nods in agreement. ... makes a difference...

Re:Do it right next time (1)

Bite The Pillow (3087109) | about 5 months ago | (#47234359)

Forgive me for being emphatic, but NO you stupid shithead, MORAL INTEGRITY is not a FUCKING PROBLEM you fucking IGNORANT SHITHOLE.

Warrants, and oversight, these are the check on abuse of power. Not the difference between "want" and "like" or even "think".

The "good" moral way is to do what you have permission to do. Not to stop once you break the lock. If you do anything else, you are guilty in at least half of the existing countries of some form of trespass. In the good old US of A, you are guilty if you break the lock.

And finally, why you want to join a force is irrelevant.

i kan reed is a fool. Forcibly entering peoples' homes is not constitutional, unless it has had proper judicial oversight. In that case, it is properly executing the laws of your jurisdiction. Anything else is blatantly the fuck illegal.

Killing another person is specifically allowed for in many state laws, specifically the "stand your ground" or "castle" type laws. You don't have to be a law enforcement dude to do this.

Demanding money has been the purvue of lots of grey-area but legal professions since ever. Owe the government money? Sure. Owe nobody? No, you can't.

i can reed's post is exactly the sort of cynicism we really do not need. It's completely horseshit and without merit. Other than a few bad apples, and a few bad court cases where the bad apples have gone unpunished, there is no basis for this sort of post.

And you have bitten, hook line and sinker, the bait. Why is irrelevant. No successful court case is going to hinge solely on why you wanted to sign up, or by its very definition it will fail. Liking the activity, or wanting to do the activity, are merely going to be evidence of the opposition. They will certainly be a factor, but they cannot be a factor when a legal judicial order says that what they wanted to do, or liked to do, is requested by the judicial branch.

It is only when they defy policy, procedure, order, and law, that want or like even comes in to play. And that is a mighty small number for you to say that the reason for wanting a job is a problem.

I agree with your sentiment. But your arguments fall way short of even sensible. If you picked it up a good bit, you would be able to 1) create a sensible argument against what you really don't like and 2) be more specific to yourself about what it is exactly you object to.

Both will help you immensely, and your argument subjects at least half as much.

Re:Do it right next time (1)

Opportunist (166417) | about 5 months ago | (#47234813)

Sorry, but I cannot agree. The motivation why someone does it does make a big difference for everyone affected by it. Even without overstepping any legal boundaries I can tell you from personal experience it does make a LOT of difference whether a policeman's motivation is him wanting the law to be upheld and him wanting to "teach someone a lesson", i.e. give in to his sadistic nature. A lot in the interaction between policeman and suspect is based on very subjective impressions, and hence the results may vary by quite a bit depending on the people involved and their motivation.

Also, people are people. Human beings are human beings, not automatons. They don't follow the rules all the time. Simply because they're human beings! Most of the time it's ignorance. Sometimes laziness. In a few cases it's deliberate. But we all break the rules. Who didn't ever come back from his break a few minutes late? Or how about eavesdropping on some interesting conversation in the next cubicle? Wasting company time chatting with someone else? And how many here have been reading /. at work? I'm pretty sure that everyone has done something that's not quite out of the ISO 9001 rule book of his company.

What impact this has on your work, though, is dependent on your personal moral and integrity. Total and complete surveillance of someone's work is by definition impossible. Especially if that someone is actually responsible for said surveillance.

Re:Do it right next time (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47232773)

The difference is maybe that a legitimate government does all that with a warrant and oversight. You know, where a judge has to ponder whether it's ok to violate someone's privacy. The older ones here may remember the time when we had a government like that.

We still do have a government like that. I know, however, it's the new hipster to bash the USA so carry on--get that +5 insightful!

Re:Do it right next time (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47230281)

Born and raised Catholic, no longer practicing but I am pretty sure the Vatican perfected at least two of those.

Re:Do it right next time (1)

Opportunist (166417) | about 5 months ago | (#47230943)

But on a voluntary level! They don't make you go to confessions, they offer it and reward you with a good consciousness and a ticket to heaven! It's not like they force you to ... huh? What do you mean, cellphones..?

Oh.

Erh...

Nevermind.

Re:Do it right next time (1)

GTRacer (234395) | about 5 months ago | (#47231447)

Well, depends on your definition of voluntary.

Because, after all, nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition! Or their comfy chair!

Re:Do it right next time (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47233605)

Of course no one does! If you had 3 weapons like fear, surprise, ruthless efficiency and a near fanatical devotion to the Pope then you'd be the top dog :D

Re:Do it right next time (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47230293)

If it makes you feel any better, the Vatican does forcibly enter children's behinds.

Re:Do it right next time (2)

Jahoda (2715225) | about 5 months ago | (#47230191)

You are painfully insightful here on this, but just because they do it doesn't make it ok for him to have done this. Regardless of what I feel about some of the people involved, it is reprehensible to invade the personal effects of another person. It's a low life, scummy thing to do.

Re:Do it right next time (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47230607)

but that's not as fun

Re:Do it right next time (1)

Opportunist (166417) | about 5 months ago | (#47230955)

As someone who is actually doing something for (pretty good, I may add) money what others get thrown to jail for: Yes, yes it IS as much fun. Actually, it's even more fun.

Password (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47229981)

The password was 'password'. All he had to do was try that unlocked front door and it got him life in prison.

Re:Password (4, Interesting)

halivar (535827) | about 5 months ago | (#47230027)

Believe it or not, if someone's front door is unlocked, you still have to knock.

Re:Password (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47230913)

Burglary, the act of entering a structure without permission, does not require that the entry portal be locked, or even closed, in most states.

Re:Password (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47231349)

Burglary is the act of breaking and entering into a structure for the purpose of committing a crime. It is not merely entering a structure without permission. Without the "breaking" part (which may admittedly be as simple as opening a door), it's not burglary. Without the purpose of committing a crime, it also is not burglary. Say there was an accident on the street, someone needs to call an ambulance, and you don't have a phone. You see a house with an open door, and you run in to get help from the person living there. That may be a bad idea for various reasons, and it may be qualified as trespassing, but it doesn't make you a burglar, not even technically.

Re:Password (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47230217)

Would your doors and windows stand up to being beaten on with a sledgehammer? If not your security is weak and I can go into your house and do whatever I want.

Re:Password (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47230683)

It was not an unlocked door, it was a shit-locked door.

Though what you said is at least closer to being true than claiming that an improperly setup web server is an unlocked door.

Counter-NSA (2)

Xenna (37238) | about 5 months ago | (#47229989)

Kind of a counter-NSA. If they can read our mail why shouldn't we read theirs? I can't help feeling a tingle of sympathy.

Re:Counter-NSA (2, Interesting)

war4peace (1628283) | about 5 months ago | (#47230397)

That won't help much, he got sentenced to 3 (or 4? Can't recall and I am lazy) years in jail already in Romania, same as some very rich asshole who stole literally millions EUR and now is over a billion EUR wealthy. What's worse is that the rich dude was found guilty in 3 different trials (for bribing and kidnapping to name a few offenses) and they "merged" the sentenced into one, basically saying, you got 3 years there, 4 years there and 4 more years there, so let's sum that up and make it... 3.5 years total.

Hacking some e-mail addresses with no data leaks gets you 3-4 years. Stealing millions of EUR, plus kidnapping some people, plus trying to bribe some football teams to "lose" a match gets you the same sentence. And people say there's justice in this world. Pfft.

Re:Counter-NSA (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47231389)

Hacking some e-mail addresses with no data leaks gets you 3-4 years. Stealing millions of EUR, plus kidnapping some people, plus trying to bribe some football teams to "lose" a match gets you the same sentence. And people say there's justice in this world. Pfft.

While I agree that there is some disparity between the punishments mete out between those two crimes, it says right in TFS that "Lazar publicly released his victims’ private e-mail correspondence, medical and financial information, and personal photographs." If that doesn't count as a data leak, then please explain to us what does.

Re:Counter-NSA (1)

war4peace (1628283) | about 5 months ago | (#47235525)

Sorry, I meant "for personal gain" and forgot to add it to my post. My mistake.
While I certainly don't agree to his practices, the guy was basically "snowdening", and I also think that the punishment is appropriate. But if that is an appropriate sentence, then the other is a joke.

We have to point out lack of consistency in the justice system at every turn.

It's just metadata (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47230091)

There is nothing wrong in collecting metadata.

So now the fun question is... (2)

Apothem (1921856) | about 5 months ago | (#47230129)

Where can we find the data he leaked? Obviously he was trying to expose something. I figure at the bare minimum it'd make for an interesting read.

Re:So now the fun question is... (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47230263)

Obviously he was trying to expose something.
 
Obviously you don't understand the nature of cracking.
 
For as much as we see these guys with that stupid mask on talking about making a change the truth is that most of them couldn't be bothered to miss an afternoon of football or a WoW raid to lift a finger. Most of the crackers I've known do it for the LuLz. Some have had a bit of ideals behind them but the most talented crackers I've known seem to be detached from what happens in the real world outside of what they directly come in contact with daily.

Re:So now the fun question is... (1)

cbiltcliffe (186293) | about 5 months ago | (#47234579)

but the most talented crackers I've known seem to be detached from what happens in the real world outside of what they directly come in contact with daily.

So, basically, they're exactly like the vast majority of everybody else....

Re:So now the fun question is... (1)

halivar (535827) | about 5 months ago | (#47230935)

This is the guy that leaked GWB's paintings, isn't it? IIRC that was the only interesting thing he found in THAT account, at least.

So Disappointing (2, Insightful)

Wonko the Sane (25252) | about 5 months ago | (#47230151)

As I was skimming Slashdot I saw a headline that contained "Bush" and "Indicted" and I thought it was for war crimes. My first thought was, "I hope they get Obama too" but sadly, it was not to be.

Re:So Disappointing (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47230341)

That's the beauty of the two party scam... one hand washes the other. These guys will never pay for their crimes.

Dont steal candy from babies with mighty moms. (2)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | about 5 months ago | (#47230167)

These celebs are basically babes in the wood when it comes to internet and security. They are surrounded by a bevy of flunkies, sidekicks and minions who do all their day to day things, their ability to do simple normal day to day things has diminished to the point of being non existent. So they choose the date of their election or zip code of their hometown as the passwords, or congratulate their own cleverness for choosing "prez" or "senator" as the password.

Hacking their accounts is like stealing candy from the babies. But with one big difference. They have access to the top government and law enforcement officers. They get miffed and they can pull strings. They are babies with mighty mom, the government. Best not to go anywhere near them.

Also let us not be complacent ourselves. IEEE left a cache of their decrypted passwords in a public folder accessible via ftp server for a month or so. Some member found it and they eventually closed the hole. But the analysis of passwords chosen by the professional electrical and electronic engineers was chilling. 12345 was the most common one. Closely followed by 123456. Simple run of digits formed some 25% of all passwords used by these people.

Pass word selection ability of people seems to be pathetic.

Re:Dont steal candy from babies with mighty moms. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47230235)

> But the analysis of passwords chosen by the professional electrical and electronic engineers was chilling.

To be fair, there isn't much personal risk in getting your IEEE account hacked. I use dumb passwords on dumb sites too because the effort of keeping track of a hard password is more than the effort in dealing with a breach on a site like that.

Re:Dont steal candy from babies with mighty moms. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47230279)

There is nothing malicious you can do with an IEEE account (except reading journals without paying), and they are often shared between several people in research groups so taking a 'stupid' password makes sense.

Re:Dont steal candy from babies with mighty moms. (1)

cascadingstylesheet (140919) | about 5 months ago | (#47234247)

Pass word selection ability of people seems to be pathetic.

And?

My door is super easy to kick in too. So what? That's why we punish such things, instead of requiring everyone to live in a fort.

Everyone, please use U.S English (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47230203)

To everyone reading this, please type using U.S English
Since this is a headline about the U.S Government, it's only fair that we use U.S English.

I think this is an atrocity all masked behind a conspiracy. These types of events are one of the reasons why there is corruption. Be cautious in the supernatural, technolgical realm.

Re:Everyone, please use U.S English (1)

oldmac31310 (1845668) | about 5 months ago | (#47230949)

Sir, do you mean U.S. English? Is the function of your 'period' key intermittent perhaps? Are you a little unhinged?

The real news (4, Insightful)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about 5 months ago | (#47230305)

If my email gets hacked is the federal government going to extradite someone from Europe to charge them?
The real story here is special treatment for special people. For some reason the department of justice thinks the invasion of privacy of political and media elites is a worse crime than the invasion of the general publics privacy. It's so transparent it's laughable.

Re:The real news (5, Informative)

Joe Gillian (3683399) | about 5 months ago | (#47230533)

I get what you're saying, but in this case it sounds like the Romanians arrested him first for hacking the emails of a member of the European parliament from Romania, probably to keep him leaking any sensitive information he might've seen. In fact, the article states that Lehel had hacked the Bush family emails in 2013 and had publicly taken responsibility for the hack after he leaked the information, and the government didn't care. To me, it sounds like the US Government only got involved because of Colin Powell. Powell was indirectly involved in the hack on the Romanian MP, in that emails between him and the MP were found and leaked. Powell is currently on the board of directors of Salesforce.com, which is an S&P 500 index stock and publicly traded.

If he happened to get any non-public information regarding Powell's company, that could easily cause real monetary damages and would probably constitute wire fraud, which they indicted the hacker on.

The government also said (in the article) that they don't know whether they'll try to extradite him or not. Right now, all they've done is indict him, and as every law professor will tell you, "A grand jury would indict a ham sandwich."

Re:The real news (1)

tchdab1 (164848) | about 5 months ago | (#47230841)

Dan Rather knows what happens when you try to out Bush family secrets. I wonder if Lazar's trigger for prosecution in the US was the same.

Re:The real news (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47236803)

You apologize for the government acting for the 'political and media elites' by saying that the people involved (Bush, Powell) have important information ... so they're important, and need to get better treatment because they're involved with important things. IMPORTANT.

Do you see how this is all just a value judgement about what's important for the Justice Department?

Good! Now jail! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47230371)

Do the crime do the time.

I am your elected representative (4, Interesting)

fulldecent (598482) | about 5 months ago | (#47230429)

Speaking on behalf of Slashdot, the nerds and computer enthusiasts, we ask:

    "How did he get caught?"

Re:I am your elected representative (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47230801)

How did he get caught brute force attacking a former presidents email and facebook accounts and then reposting them? I wonder ';..;'

And what will get Keith Alexander... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47230529)

...for hacking into Merkel's phone?

Mind you: I couldn't give a flying fuck about Merkel's phone, but hey -- I'd sure prefer Guccifer didn't get caught.

The man is a hero! (1)

oldmac31310 (1845668) | about 5 months ago | (#47231013)

Nuff said.

Re:The man is a hero! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47231453)

Nuff said.

Indeed, that is more than nuff for you to let the world fully understand that you're quite the wanker.

Best Hackers (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47231253)

Good hackers are known by many.
Great hackers are known by everyone.
The Best hackers are known by noone.

Wrong crime (1)

Tablizer (95088) | about 5 months ago | (#47231429)

The bigger crime was exposing W's horrid art to the world.

Tar, feathers and a long prison term (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47231491)

Justice.

Allegedly (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47233433)

"Man allegedly behind"
Unless you like being sued...
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