A man from California was sentenced to time in prison on Wednesday after being found guilty of hacking thousands of iCloud accounts, stealing people’s nude images and videos and sharing them with conspirators.
Hao Huo Chi acted under the online name of ‘icloudripper4you’. He would have illegally obtained the iCloud account credentials of approximately 4700 victims and shared their content with other people on more than 300 occasions.
US District Judge Kathryn Kimball Mizelle sentenced Chi to nine years in federal prison for conspiracy and computer fraud. Chi pleaded guilty last October.
Attorney Roger Hanberg said, “Chi victimized hundreds of women across the country, making them fear for their safety and reputations.”
“This sentence reflects the resolve of the U.S. Attorney’s Office to hold cybercriminals responsible for their crimes.”
Chi operated for several years on Anon-IB, an ‘anonymous image’ sharing website designed to encourage users to post explicit or sexual photos, according to documents obtained by the court.
The man allegedly used an unnamed foreign-based, end-to-end encrypted email service to share images with his conspirators, some of whom released the personal images into the public sphere.
Anon-IB has since been taken offline, but, during his time on the site, Chi reportedly collected around 3.5 TB of victim data on both physical and cloud storage, containing content stolen from more than 500 victims.
David Walker, the FBI Tampa Division Special Agent in Charge, said, “this man led a terror campaign from his computer, causing fear and distress to hundreds of victims.”
“The FBI is committed to protecting the American people by exposing these cybercriminals and bringing them to justice.”
A similar case took place in October 2021, when IT specialist Justin Sean Johnson admitted using his professional technical skills to hack thousands of University of Pittsburgh Medical Centre (UPMC) employees’ online accounts, including iClouds.