Man pretends to be technical assistant and steals 629,000 nudes

A man from California (USA) admitted that he was impersonating an Apple technician and, in doing so, stole 629,000 intimate photos and videos of women. Hao Kuo Chi, 40, was known as David on social media and used the “icloudripper4you” account to help victims.

He was charged with the crimes of conspiracy and cyber fraud, according to a Florida (US) police report.

According to The Register portal, Chi worked between September 2014 and May 2018, during which time he obtained Apple IDs and victims’ passwords by impersonating an accredited technical support representative for the brand.

While carrying out the supposed maintenance, he took the opportunity to look for intimate files in the galleries of the “clients”. It would then share the media with others through an “outside-based, end-to-end encrypted email service for anonymity,” as the report said.

After confessing to the crime, Chi also revealed the amount of private material obtained. There were more than 306 ICloud accounts accessed, mostly young women, in the states of Arizona, California, Connecticut, Florida, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina and Texas.

“Chi and his conspirators searched for nude photos and videos stored in the victim’s iCloud accounts, which they referred to as ‘victories’, and collected, shared and exchanged ‘victories’ with each other,” the investigation said.

According to the Los Angeles Times, FBI agents found more than half a million emails in two Gmail accounts used in the scam. The defendant’s Dropbox accounts had about 620,000 photos and 9,000 videos. It was not clear whether the man performed the services remotely or in person.

Wanted by The Register, Apple and Chi’s defense did not respond. If convicted, the accused could face up to five years in prison for each of the crimes.