Guccifer

Guccifer

Updated Jun 11, 2014 at 03:37PM EDT by Brad.  

Added by Don.

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About

Guccifer is the online pseudonym of Marcel Lazar Lehel, a Romanian computer hacker best known for compromising the security of several high-profile American political targets, including several members of the Bush family, former Clinton aide Sidney Blumenthal and former Secretary of State Colin Powell among others.

Online History

Aside from The Smoking Gun’s description of the hacker as male who goes by the pseudonym Guccifer, presumably a portmanteu of “Gucci” and “Lucifer,” little is known about his identity or location.

February 2013: The Bush Family

On February 7th, 2013, The Smoking Gun[1] reported that a hacker calling himself “Guccifer” posted photos and email exchanges taken from the email accounts of several family members of former President George W. Bush, including his sister Dorothy Bush Koch. Among the photographs were self-portraits of Bush taking a bath and shower (shown below, left). On March 21st, Gawker[2] released images of six additional paintings by Bush (shown below, right).



Guccifer reportedly told the Smoking Gun that the federal government had been investigating him for some time and that he was not worried about being caught, adding “i have an old game with the fucking bastards inside, this is just another chapter in the game.”

March 2013: General Colin Powell

On March 11th, 2013, The Smoking Gun[6] reported that Guccifer hacked the Facebook account of former Secretary of State Colin Powell, where he proceeded to post several status updates insulting George W. Bush (shown below). The same day, Powell posted a status update[4] that the hacking problem had been fixed after working with Facebook.



On March 13th, The Smoking Gun[5] published an article revealing that Powell’s AOL e-mail account had been compromised by Guccifer as well, who was able to access Powell’s personal financial documents and communications with several former government officials.

March 2013: White House Adviser Sidney Blumenthal

On March 15th, 2013, The Smoking Gun[7] reported that Guccifer had managed to break into the AOL email account of Sidney Blumenthal, a senior White House adviser to former President Bill Clinton. In the account, Guccifer obtained many emails between Blumenthal and Hilary Clinton, among other correspondences with Washington insiders. The article also mentioned that Guccifer left a message regarding the purported secret society known as the “Illuminati”.

“the evil is leading this fucked up world!!!!!! i tell you this the world of tomorrow will be a world free of illuminati or will be no more,”

On March 18th, The Smoking Gun[8] published a follow-up article about several confidential memos Guccifer discovered in Blumenthal’s email account, which he disseminated to hundreds of recipients. The memos referenced several incidents in Libya, including an attack on a U.S. mission in Benghazi on September 11th, 2012 (shown below). To distribute the messages, Guccifer pasted them into a new document using the Comic Sans font. The article also reported that two IP addresses connected with the hacker had been traced to Russia and several emails containing the Blumenthal memos were distributed to Russian reporters.



March 2013: ex-White House Chief of Staff Kenneth Duberstein

On March 22nd, The Smoking Gun[14] reported that Guccifer breached a new batch of AOL e-mail accounts belonging to several Washington D.C. insiders, including former President Ronald Reagan’s chief of staff Kenneth Duberstein, former military advisor and chairman of the defense contrator VizorNetMark Gatanas and public relations executive Fraser Seitel. According to the article, the hacker corroborated his latest claims by forwarding screen captures of e-mail correspondences between the targets and other high-ranking officials.



May 2013: Sex & The City Author Candace Bushnell

On May 6th, 2013, Guccifer infiltrated American author Candice Bushnell’s e-mail account and obtained a partial manuscript of the Sex and The City author’s upcoming novel titled Killing Monica that she had sent to her editor at Grand Central Publishing. The 37,000-words document was then converted into 50 screen-captured images and uploaded via Google Drive (shown below, left).[11] Guccifer also took control of the author’s Twitter account and shared a link to the Google Drive page with her 9,100 followers, effectively leaking the manuscript out in the open (shown below, right).



On the following day, The Smoking Gun[12] and Gawker[13] reported on Guccifer’s latest exploit, the former of which citing an e-mail allegedly sent from the hacker himself. Bushnell also confirmed the breach of her accounts and revealed that a similar attempt were made on her Facebook account from an IP address in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Later that same day, the elusive hacker uploaded two additional screenshots of Bushnell’s panicked e-mail correspondence with the editors to the same Google Drive page.



May 2013: NIC Chairman Christopher Kojm

On May 28th, The Smoking Gun revealed that the chairman of the U.S. National Intelligence Council (NIC) Christopher Kojm’s personal MSN account has been breached by Guccifer, who once again backed up his claim with screengrabs from his account. According to the report, Guccifer claims to have gained access to Kojm’s personal correspondence, his banking information, documents relating to Obama’s interim cabinet and e-mail exchanges with 9/11 Commission members and staff, though it didn’t clarify whether the hacker was able to access any classified intelligence information from Kojm’s account.



June 2013: NNSA Administrator Neile Miller

On June 12th, amidst the aftermath of the NSA surveillance scandal, The Smoking Gun[15] reported that Guccifer recently breached personal e-mail and Facebook accounts of Neile Miller, the acting administrator of the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) which oversees the maintenance of the country’s nuclear stockpile. The article also included a photograph of Miller with Obama at a White House meeting in 2012 (shown below), noting that it was forwarded to the publication by Guccifer, however, no evidence was found to suggest the hacker accessed any sensitive or classified documents from her accounts, citing a statement released by Miller through an NNSA spokesperson.



July 2013: Ex-DIA Official Roy Apseloff

On July 11th, Gawker[16] revealed that it has received a cache of personal documents and correspondences belonging to Roy Apseloff, a now-retired veteran official of the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), in an e-mail sent from Guccifer. Among the leaked documents that were published includes an appraisal of Apseloff’s home, a photograph of Apseloff and Arnold Schwarzenegger and an unknown volume of e-mail correspondences detailing sexually explicit messages.



According to Gawker, Apseloff had held several high-ranking positions throughout his 32-year career with the agency, most notably as the director of the National Media Exploitation Center to oversee the analysis of intercepted documents for intelligence use.

The Guccifer Archive

On January 6th, 2014, The Smoking Gun[17] ran one of the most comprehensive summaries of Guccifer’s exploits it has ever published to date, citing newly-obtained documents that it had obtained via e-mail from the mysterious hacker himself. According to the article, the archive included documents of personal financial records, photographs, contact information and online storage locations that had been illegally obtained from dozens of “entertainers, scholars, diplomats, financiers, government and military officials.” The article also added that the hacker decided to share his archive amidst growing concerns of being caught, citing:

“i don’t know what near future hold for me,” the hacker stated, adding that the thousands of documents were being provided to a reporter “in case I disappear.” Aware that a platoon of federal agents is hunting for him (or her or them), “Guccifer” facetiously claimed to be having dreams “in which a woman is stepping up to me saying that she is from Federal Bureau and I am busted.” He added, “meanwhile me trying desperately to erase my files on my computer at my desk or on my smartphone which btw I don”t have because I can”t afford one.”

Arrest

On January 7th, the Romanian news site Mediafax[19] reported that the SRI has vowed to take legal measures against the mysterious hacker following the revelation that he had hacked the Yahoo e-mail account of the agency’s director George Maior.[18] On January 22nd, Romanian authorities arrested Marcel Lazăr Lehel, a 40-year-old Romanian national and former cab driver who lives in Arad, and identified him as the suspect hacker behind Guccifer. (shown below).



According to Romania Insider,[21] the raid and the arrest were made possible as a result of a collaboration between the Romanian authorities and American intelligence agencies. On the same day, Gawker[20] published an article about Lehel’s arrest, noting that the man had been previously convicted of hacking-related charges against dozens of Romanian officials in February of 2012.

Trial

On June 6th, 2014, a Romanian court sentenced Lehel to four years in jail, as well as a fine of 11000 Romanian Leu (approximately £2,020) in legal costs to the state, after finding him guilty of illegally hacking into the e-mail accounts of numerous individuals, including the Romanian Intelligence Service director George Maior, Member of European Parliament Corina Cretu and many others. In addition to the four-year prison term, Lehel also faces a separate term of up to three years in prison as he had previously received a suspended sentence for hacking charges in 2012.



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