Apple is a large company and as such it’s quite hard to fool. However, a 22-year-old wanna-be hacker attempted to blackmail Apple, and now, he’s been sentenced for attempting to scam. He wanted to blackmail the Cupertino-based giant for $100,000 worth of iTunes gift cards, as per Britain’s National Crime Agency (NCA).
The 22-year-old Kerem Albayrak from North London reached out to Apple Security back in March 2017. Back then, he said that he had access to 319 million iCloud accounts. At first he claimed that he could sell the information of the iCloud accounts to his “internet” buddies, and with that demanded a ransom of $75,000 in cryptocurrency, or iTunes gift cards, as per the NCA.
Just one week later, he attempted to blackmail Apple again. He recorded a video of himself and uploaded it to YouTube. The video shows him accessing two random iCloud accounts. He sent the video to Apple, as well as several media outlets. Given that didn’t grab any attention, his ransom demand went up to $100,000 compared to the previously demanded $75,000. He also threatened he would factory reset all iCloud accounts in his possession.
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Those acts caused Apple to report the extortion attempt. On March 28, 2017 Albayrak was arrested by the NCA investigators who found him at his home in London. They also seized all the devices they found at his apartment, finding out that Albayrak was a spokesman for hackers known as the “Turkish Crime Family.”
Records the NCA found show that he boasted to his hacker group that the attack would happen “99.9%” and that even if they didn’t attack the company “you’re still going to get A LOT of media attention.” However, neither the NCA or Apple found evidence of the Cupertino-based company being compromised.
The NCA described Albayrak who tried to blackmail Apple as a “fame-hungry cybercriminal.” He told the investigators that the power on the internet equals to fame “and everyone respects you, and everyone is chasing that right now.”
The young hacker pleaded guilty to one count of blackmail and two counts of hindering access to a computer on Dec. 2, 2019. He received a suspended prison sentence of two years on Dec. 20. Additionally, he will need to complete 300 hours of community service and an electronic curfew of six months in which he won’t be allowed to use electronic devices.