Selena Gomez's Facebook account hacker jailed for one year

Filed Under: Celebrities, Facebook, Featured, Law & order, Privacy, Social networks

Southwark Crown Court has sentenced a 21-year-old British man to a year in prison after he admitted hacking into the Facebook account of Justin Bieber's girlfriend, Selena Gomez, and accessed private messages.

Gareth Crosskey, of the village of Sompting, near Lancing, in West Sussex, was jailed yesterday after admitting he had hacked into a private Facebook account.

Scotland Yard. Image from Shutterstock

The hack was initially reported to the FBI, who traced the source of the unauthorised access to the UK. The Metropolitan Police Service's Police Central e-Crime Unit (PCeU) arrested Crosskey in July last year, and took away from his home computers and other storage devices for analysis.

Crosskey was subsequently charged with two offenses under the Computer Misuse Act

A statement issued by the PCeU underlined their hope that the jail sentence would act as a warning to others that Facebook hacking is an offence that will be taken seriously by the authorities:

"The PCeU are working to detect and bring before the courts those responsible for this type of offence. Today's result should act as a deterrent to any individuals thinking of participating in this type of criminal activity."

Update: According to media reports, the victim of Gareth Crosskey's hack was none other than Selena Gomez, the girlfriend of pop star Justin Bieber.
It's claimed that the hacker posted the message "Justin Bieber sucks" on Selena Gomez's Facebook page, reset her page administrator's password and accessed four personal email accounts.
To add insult to injury, it is claimed that Crosskey uploaded a video to YouTube showing how he hacked the account, and contacted magazines offering to share information with them about Gomez - who, at the time, was not known publicly to be Bieber's girfriend.

Selena Gomez's Facebook page

New Scotland Yard image courtesy of ShutterStock

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23 Responses to Selena Gomez's Facebook account hacker jailed for one year

  1. michael collins · 700 days ago

    I hope a lot more face prison terms for things like this.

    This sort of thing could be practice before they start hacking bank accounts.

    • Learning how to secure a computer, without learning how to hack, would be like trying to learn how to write, without learning how to read. Impossible.

  2. vic · 700 days ago

    Yet people who visit violence on citizens get a suspended sentence or fine? Why?

    • njorl · 699 days ago

      Maybe our democratic administrations like to think of computer hacking and collection of citizens' / subjects' data as their domain, and it's just a case of defending their territory.

  3. Today's result should act as a deterrent to any individuals thinking of participating in this type of criminal activity.

    It won't make the slightest bit of difference.

    And large companies share peoples' private data all the time. The only difference I see between this guy and those companies is the fact that they own a business and he [probably] does not.

    I think the reason the staff of the companies/corporations don't go to prison is usually because when they hack peoples' computers or data, they prompt the victim with an "agree" button during a software installation, or upon a cloud account creation.

    They're often both equally as malicious in my view.

    They should be less concerned about kids/students and more on companies/corporations - that's where I believe the biggest threats will emanate from in the future.

  4. Seems a little harsh... A quick google search shows the penalty for Burglary is likely to be half that for a first offence and that is surely more invasive??

  5. Monica · 700 days ago

    It may be a little harsh but consider this...

    My 17 year old daughter has a boyfriend that when he is angry with her will take over her facebook, change her email and password and lock her out. This last time he pretended to be her and messaged an old boyfriend of hers (that relationship was traumatic for her) and told him she wanted him back etc etc. he sent very suggestive messages and pictures of her and this boy showed up at my daughters work. Until he realized it was not her that sent them. Unfortunately, there is nothing I can do about it on this end as the state of Missouri says she is an adult at 17 pretty much. She has Borderline Personality Disorder and this abusive man has taken control of her. I am trying to get guardianship of her based on her illness but it is a long road. I'm afraid he will hurt her yet again. This is something that should have these harsh consequences. What can I do about it when there are no laws that will help me? I'm glad people are being told NO.

  6. Zero tolerance · 700 days ago

    Throw away the key.

  7. adampembs · 700 days ago

    This is a good example of why this is unfair and yes, harsh.

    This guy *didn't* hack your daughter's account, she gave him the password. So she suffers and the guy gets away with it. Another guy might hack her account just for kicks and do nothing but faces jail for it. Its messed up. The authorities care more about their reputation of their systems than the damage done to people.

  8. Robert W. · 700 days ago

    How about he is guilty of Criminal Computer Trespass, Criminal Unauthorized Access
    and Criminal Computer Tampering (federal and State laws.) If there was ANY nudity
    then it would be kiddie porn too.

    Your police HAVE to take this seriously, and I would file criminal complaints at both
    levels because she is still a minor under Federal law. As her parent you have rights
    to do so, and if they won't accept or pursue them, keep working your way up the food
    chain of command until you get results.

  9. BMW · 700 days ago

    So who got hacked, have you ever called the FBI? I am mean really they are so under resourced I can't image they would respond this way for Joe or Jane middle class citizen?

    • Suspicious · 696 days ago

      according to other sites it was Justin Bieber's girlfriend that was 'hacked'

  10. Suspicious · 696 days ago

    I'm rather assuming it was the blackmail element and who's data he was threatening to publish that was the issue here rather than the 'hack' . The Sun newspaper reports more on this story.

  11. Freddy Bloggins · 696 days ago

    But what did he actually do?

    Guess the password??

    What's the big deal about this. It's like closing your front door and not locking it, then being supprised that someone has come past & pushed the door open . . .

    If the banks leave their doors open (real or electronic) are they not the ones who should pay the price?

  12. onewhoknowstruth · 696 days ago

    Anyone who think this person should face jail is uneducated and ignorant, the only reason this facebook account could be accessed in the first place is a vulnerability found in facebook itself or the owner of the accounts was just being careless. Many wealthy people and non celebrities get their facebook account lost/taken will never get it back nor will authorities even help you get information on what happened because its almost impossible to gain evidence if done correctly. Authoritya pretty much helped this celebritie as a special request and probably had to get help just to get basic evidence which is pathetic, Selena Gonmez should have to create a new facebook account like everyone else.

    What i odd is, why would Gareth Crosskey admit to "accessing" her account. He should of denied it as it makes things more complicated for authoritys and waste the courts money which is a good thing .

    I doubt they have any real evidence on this guy from besides from him admitting because they dont even explain what type of "hack" or "exploit" it was so they would probably know nothing about what method he used to access the account besides what he told them. I think this person might want a bit of fame because he could of easily gotten away while being completely unknown.

    For the people who think hacking or finding a vulnerability in facebook that thinks they can access bank account then get a brain. Facebook and banking sites are two completely different platforms that need different vulnerabilities and exploits to access.

    - Truth

  13. cracker, not hacker

    beard, not girlfriend

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About the author

Graham Cluley is an award-winning security blogger, and veteran of the anti-virus industry having worked for a number of security companies since the early 1990s. Now an independent security analyst, he regularly makes media appearances and gives computer security presentations. Send Graham an email, subscribe to his updates on Facebook, follow him on Twitter and App.net, and circle him on Google Plus for regular updates.