Man Pleads Guilty to Stealing Nude Photos From Hundreds of iCloud Accounts

Hao Kuo Chi advertised his iCloud hacking service as "icloudripper4you" but also kept images for his personal collection.
October 18, 2021, 2:34pm
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Hacking. Disinformation. Surveillance. CYBER is Motherboard's podcast and reporting on the dark underbelly of the internet.

Hao Kuo Chi, 40, pleaded guilty on Friday to conspiracy and computer fraud after he hacked into hundreds of iCloud accounts and stole nude photos, according to an announcement from the Department of Justice.

From around September 2014, Chi "then shared and traded these images with other persons using the internet and/or kept those images for his personal collection. Certain members of the conspiracy released these images into the public sphere," the plea agreement reads.

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Chi advertised his hacking services under the moniker "icloudripper4you," saying he could break into accounts and then steal the contents. He created email accounts to impersonate Apple customer support, and gained access to iCloud accounts belonging to at least 306 victims, the agreement adds. Those include primarily young women in Arizona, California, Connecticut, Florida, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, and Texas, the agreement says. Chi maintained at least one terabyte of storage for the stolen content, and he had hundreds of thousands of photographs and videos, it adds.

Chi and his conspirators referred to nude photos stolen from inside iCloud accounts as "wins." As Motherboard has previously reported, some online communities trade "wins" harvested from social media or other avenues. Often, these images are shared without the consent of the subject.

In two specific cases mentioned in the agreement, a conspirator provided Chi with the victims' Apple ID and password. In a third, a conspirator gave him the victim's Apple ID and date of birth before he gained access to the iCloud account.

As part of the agreement, Chi agreed to cooperate with authorities and to testify against others involved in the crime.

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