What do Colin Powell, George W. Bush, Steve Martin and a finance lawyer named Cantwell F. Muckenfuss III all have in common? They’re all victims of recently-apprehended hacker "Guccifer."
Marcel Lazar Lehel was arrested Wednesday in Arad, Romania, on “reasonable suspicion” that he “repeatedly and illegally accessed, breaking security rules, email accounts belonging to public persons in Romania with the aim of getting electronic mail confidential data.” (Via NBC)
Lehel is thought to be the real name of Guccifer, the online persona behind a number of high-profile hacks including leaking self portraits painted by George W. Bush and an unpublished manuscript written by Sex and the City author Candace Bushnell. (The Smoking Gun & Wikimedia / MDCarchives)
Just how many people has Guccifer hacked? There are apparently too many to list, but here are some highlights.
The hacker offloaded a huge cache of documents he had obtained to The Smoking Gun earlier this month with names including former Daily Beast editor Tina Brown, best-selling author Kitty Kelley, actor and Downton Abbey creator Julian Fellowes, comedian Steve Martin, and actress Mariel Hemingway. (Via The Smoking Gun)
In the case of Downton Abbey’s Julian Fellowes, Guccifer reportedly unearthed the script for the fourth season finale, but opted not to share it and spoil the show for everyone. How nice. (Via Vanity Fair)
But how was he able to hack so many accounts?
Turns out it wasn't exactly high tech. CNET reports, “It appears that at least some of the e-mail accounts — from providers like Gmail, AOL, Yahoo, and Earthlink — were accessed by his correct guessing of password security questions.” (Via CNET)
Although there aren't any official charges yet against Lehel, he was convicted in 2012 for hacking the email accounts of Romanian public figures.