A California man who stole thousands of Apple iCloud accounts received an eight-year sentence after pleading guilty to conspiracy and computer crime in October 2021. Hao Kuo Chi, 41, of La Puente, California, began selling himself as “icloudripper4you” in September 2014, claiming to be capable of hacking iCloud accounts and stealing whatever was stored in the associated iCloud storage (in what he referred to as “ripping”).
“This man led a terror campaign from his computer, causing fear and distress to hundreds of victims,” said FBI agent David Walker. “The FBI is committed to protecting the American people by exposing these cybercriminals and bringing them to justice.”
According to court records, Chi used emails to mimic Apple customer service agents and deceive targets into turning up their Apple IDs and passwords to hack a targeted account. He would hunt for and take nude images and films from victims’ online storage (referred to as “wins”) after hacking an iCloud account, then share them with accomplices who released them online. Chi also uploaded some of the intimate photographs and videos without his victims’ knowledge on a now-defunct revenge porn website (Anon-IB) with the intent of “to intimidate, harass, or embarrass.”
Chi got illegal access to hundreds of targets’ iCloud accounts from all across the US, including Arizona, Maine, California, Ohio, Florida, Kentucky, South Carolina, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, and Texas, until he was apprehended.
“Chi’s email accounts contained the iCloud credentials of approximately 4,700 victims. These accounts also revealed that he had sent content stolen from victims to conspirators on more than 300 occasions,” the Department of Justice revealed.
He kept 3.5 terabytes of stolen content from more than 500 victims on cloud and physical storage, with around 1 terabyte of cloud storage dedicated to stolen naked images and videos. U.S. Attorney Roger Handberg said that Chi harmed hundreds of women around the country, making them worry for their safety and reputations. This sentence highlights the US Attorney’s Office’s determination to hold cybercriminals accountable for their crimes.