Jennifer Lawrence hacker's sentence doesn't act as a 'very effective deterrent', says security expert

Thursday, August 30, 2018

A security expert has said the eight months prison sentence given to the Jennifer Lawrence hacker doesn’t act as a ‘very effective deterrent’.

Will Geddes was reacting to the news that a US man who hacked into more than 200 cloud storage accounts of Hollywood stars and other people has been sentenced to eight months in prison.

George Garofano was sentenced in federal court in Bridgeport, Connecticut.

After prison, he must serve three years of supervised release and perform 60 hours of community service.

Joining Jamie East on talkRADIO, Geddes agreed with the host that eight months in prison is a ‘peace mill approach’. “No, I agree with you guys, it’s a peace mill approach,” he said.

“I don’t think it’s very effective as a deterrent certainly to anybody else out there who is carrying out the same exercise as we speak. I do get celebrities who come to me and go ‘Will, I’ve had my account hack and I’ve lost some provocative pictures’.

“The problem is, once it is out there - as much as we can retrieve it from the main websites - it’s always going to be there somewhere.”

Garofano was one of four men arrested in the 2014 hacking scandal which led to private photos of Jennifer Lawrence, Kirsten Dunst, Kate Upton and others being made public.


 ‘A fun thing’

Authorities said the hackers used a phishing scheme that sent emails appearing to be from Apple security accounts that asked for usernames and passwords.

 “I think it was more of a fun thing for these guys, there were four as you mention, and one of the characters got 18 months.

“They didn’t only hack Apple accounts they hacked Gmail accounts as well, they used phishing schemes using a fake website that any of us can be susceptible to.

“It looks like a legitimate Apple or Gmail account, which says ‘we have problems accessing your account can you confirm your username and password’.”

“The problem is there’s some insidious code behind it which allows them to copy your credentials, or in this case, they were actually able to download their actual iCloud drives.



Geddes went onto say that around 44% of teenagers will take provocative images, with older generations doing it ‘all the time’ as well.

“Sexting, it’s huge,” he said.

“44% of teens will genuinely do it, even in the older generations; people do it all the time.

“I had a case, a very well-known female celebrity, she came to me and said ‘Will, I’ve got this problem my photos have been taken by an ex-boyfriend of mine, he wants to put them online, what do I do?’.

“I resolved the case and turned round to her and I said to her ‘that’s going to stop you doing that again in the future’, and she said ‘no, I actually enjoy doing it’, and I just put my head in my hands.”

Garofano pleaded guilty in April and asked for leniency, saying he faces a lifetime loss of rights because of the conviction.