Kerem Albayrak, 22, of north London, pleaded guilty to a blackmail count in a Southwark Crown Court on December 2, and had previously admitted two counts related to "unauthorized acts intended to hinder operation or prevent / hinder access to a computer". . "Last Friday, the court imposed a two-year suspended prison sentence on Albayrak, as well as a 300-hour volunteer work order and a six-month electronic curfew.
The blackmail attempt took place in March 2017, by a group called "Turkish Crime Family". According to the UK National Crime Agency, which investigated the crime in collaboration with the American authorities, Albayrak was the spokesperson for the group of hackers.
The group has threatened Apple to reset the factory settings of 319 million iCloud accounts, as well as to empty the databases collected online if demand is not met. After contacting Apple Security with the initial threat and not receiving an adequate response within a week, he doubled the demand to $ 75,000 in cryptocurrency or 1,000 iTunes gift cards by $ 100.
Albayrak also created a YouTube video where he accessed two seemingly random iCloud accounts as evidence, which was sent to Apple as well as to the media. A small collection of UK-based iCloud accounts was also provided to the media for verification.
Albayrak was arrested and a search of the seized aircraft confirmed his involvement in the group. In a conversation, the hacker boasted to the rest of the group that "the attack will happen 99.9%. Even if it doesn't, you're still going to attract a LOT media attention ".
He then explained to investigators the need for fame. "When you have power on the Internet, it's like glory, and everyone respects you," said Albayrak. "Everyone is chasing after that."
"Albayrak mistakenly believed that he could escape justice after hacking two accounts and trying to blackmail a large multinational," said Anna Smith, an NCA senior investigator. "During the investigation, it became clear that he was looking for fame and fortune. But cybercrime does not pay."
At the time of the blackmail attempt, Apple said its systems were not compromised, with the NCA investigation confirming that there were no signs of a violation. Albayrak had data that could be used in an attack, but it was collected from breaches of third-party services, and most of the accounts were inactive.
In emails sent by the Turkish Crime Family group to …