- A London-based hacker tried to extort $100000 from Apple but failed miserably.
- The man told the court that he got addicted to the fake status rise that comes with online criminality.
- The NCA affirmed that the hacker didn’t hold the user data that he claimed to have anyway.
A 22-year old man from London named Kerem Albayrak has received an imprisonment sentence today at the Southwark Crown Court. The man pleaded guilty to blackmail and unauthorized acts against the systems of Apple, receiving two years in prison, six months of electronic inhibition, and 300 hours of unpaid community work. Albayrak admitted that he dived into the world of cyber-criminality and got sucked into it quickly as it is easy to get addicted to the respect, fame, and money that comes from the illegal activity that goes on.
However, Albayrak has admittedly bitten more than he could chew here, as blackmailing a tech giant like Apple is probably not a great idea in general. The hacker threatened to make the data of 319 iCloud accounts public by selling them on the dark web, while at the same time he told Apple that he planned to reset them. The ransom that he asked for is a thousand $100 iTunes gift cards or $75000 in crypto coins. To prove that he had access to iCloud accounts, he filmed himself accessing a sample of them, posted it on YouTube and then sent a link to Apple Security.
Two days after that, and with Apple not responding, he raised the demand to $100000. Still, Apple didn’t succumb, and notified the UK and US law enforcement agencies, so the NCA Cyber Crime Unit has managed to track the hacker and arrest him. During the raid in the man’s home in Hornsey, London, the police found and seized computers, phones, and hard drives. According to the findings of the investigation that followed, Albayrak was delivering empty threats to Apple, as he hadn’t managed to hack into millions of iCloud accounts as he claimed. Instead, he just used stolen credentials to access the two accounts that he used for his demonstration, and that was it.
Hacker who tried to blackmail Apple by threatening to delete 319 million accounts has been sentenced following an NCA investigation.
— National Crime Agency (NCA) (@NCA_UK) December 20, 2019
iCloud is not an easy platform to hack. Apple is paying great attention to making iCloud robust and secure, so we’re not seeing legitimate stories of hacking into it very often. Almost a year ago, we covered the claims of a Turkish security researcher who managed to somehow partially access the iCloud account data of others by using only their phone numbers. Apple never clarified if that was due to a zero-day bug or a security flaw, but they told the press that the issue has been already fixed anyway.