If you’re an Apple user, you hopefully have your iCloud photos and other sensitive data protected by strong passwords and two-factor authentication. Sadly, even those security measures won’t protect you against bad actors that manipulate you to give up those secure logins.
Hao Kuo Chi, also known as David, is from La Puente, California, located in LA County has pleaded guilty to breaking into iCloud accounts and stealing iCloud photos and videos from said accounts. Federal authorities say that Hao Kuo Chi searched for nude photos of young women that he could share on the internet.
Hao Kuo Chi is guilty of four felonies, including conspiracy to gain unauthorized access to a computer.
Chi, who goes by David, admitted that he impersonated Apple customer support staff in emails that tricked unsuspecting victims into providing him with their Apple IDs and passwords, according to court records.
He gained unauthorized access to photos and videos of at least 306 victims across the nation, most of them young women, he acknowledged in his plea agreement with federal prosecutors in Tampa, Fla.
Chi said he hacked into the accounts of about 200 of the victims at the request of people he met online. Using the moniker “icloudripper4you,” Chi marketed himself as capable of breaking into iCloud accounts to steal photos and videos, he admitted in court papers.
Chi acknowledged in court papers that he and his unnamed co-conspirators used a foreign encrypted email service to communicate with each other anonymously. When they came across nude photos and videos stored in victims’ iCloud accounts, they called them “wins,” which they collected and shared with one another.
While it is still important to use a strong password, encryption, and two-factor to secure information like iCloud photos, this is a good reminder that hackers can use manipulation and other methods to gain access to your personal information. Stay vigilant.