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Hacking charges brought over Selena Gomez breach

July 14, 2018

Prosecutors announced felony charges Friday against a New Jersey woman accused of hacking pop star Selena Gomez, stealing her digital property and then sharing it without permission.

Susan Atrach, 21, has been charged with five counts of identity theft, five counts of computer fraud and one count of criminal hacking all felonies for allegedly compromising internet accounts belonging to Ms. Gomez and an unnamed associate, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office said in a statement.

Ms. Atrach allegedly breached the accounts between June 2015 and February 2016 and stole unspecified “digital property” subsequently shared with other people, the statement said.

The hacked accounts included an Apple iCloud account and a Yahoo account used by Ms. Gomez and an assistant, The Los Angeles Times reported. They were allegedly compromised after Ms. Atrach used publicly available information to answer the security questions needed to reset their passwords, a source told the newspaper on condition of anonymity.

A resident of Ridgefield Park near New York City, Ms. Atrach is expected to be arraigned in Los Angeles County court on or before Aug. 27, according to prosecutors.

“She is going to surrender here in LA,” on or before that date, to avoid a possibly lengthy extradition process, a spokesman for the District Attorney’s office told The New York Post.

Prosecutors will ask that Ms. Atrach be held on $250,000 bail once taken into custody, they said in the statement. The suspected hacker faces a maximum sentence of nearly 10 years behind bars if convicted on all counts, the statement said.

Additional case documents were not immediately available, and neither Ms. Gomez nor Ms. Atrach could be reached for comment.

Ms. Gomez, 25, was the victim of a widely-reported hack in Aug. 2017 that resulted in nude images of her ex-boyfriend, fellow pop singer Justin Bieber, being shared through her official Instagram account. It was not clear if the charges against Mr. Atrach are related.

A former Disney Channel star-turned singer, Ms. Gomez’s Instagram account was among the most popular on the platform at the time of the breach with roughly 125 million followers.

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