- A 22-year-old would-be hacker from London has been sentenced after trying unsuccessfully to blackmail Apple out of $US100,000.
- In 2017 Kerem Albayrak claimed he would publish the account details of 319 million iCloud accounts if his ransom demands weren’t met. He sent Apple a YouTube video of himself accessing two random iCloud accounts.
- The National Crime Agency (NCA) arrested him later the same month and found no evidence he had actually compromised Apple’s systems.
- The NCA found evidence that Albayrak was the spokesman for a hacker group calling itself the “Turkish Crime Family.”
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A 22-year-old would-be hacker has been sentenced after trying and failing to con Apple out of $US100,000 worth of iTunes gift cards,Britain’s National Crime Agency (NCA) has announced.
Kerem Albayrak from North London emailed Apple Security in March 2017 saying he had access to 319 million iCloud accounts. He initially threatened to sell the information for his “internet buddies,” and demanded a ransom of $US75,000 in cryptocurrency or iTunes gift cards.
One week later he sent Apple a YouTube video of himself accessing two random iCloud accounts, along with several media outlets. Two days later he upped the ransom demand to $US100,000 and threatened to factory reset all the accounts.
Apple reported the extortion attempt, and on March 28 2017 investigators from the NCA arrested Albayrak at his home in London.
After seizing his devices the NCA found Albayrak was a spokesman for a hacker group called the “Turkish Crime Family.” Records showed Albayrak telling the group the attack would happen “99.9%” and that even if it didn’t, “you’re still going to get A LOT of media attention.”
The NCA and Apple found no evidence that Apple had actually been compromised.
The NCA characterised Albayrak as a “fame-hungry cybercriminal.” After his arrest Albayrak told investigators: “When you have power on the internet it’s like fame and everyone respects you, and everyone is chasing that right now.”
Albayrak pleaded guilty to one count of blackmail and two counts of hindering access to a computer. He was given a suspended prison sentence of two years, along with 300 hours of community service and an electronic curfew which will curtail when he’s allowed to use electronic devices.
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