Apple is known to keep its users’ data secure and treat their privacy as the top priority. However, it seems like there aren’t any servers in the world that cannot be hacked. Earlier this week, reports about a man pleading guilty to accessing Microsoft and Nintendo’s servers surfaced online. And days later, a man from Georgia has pleaded guilty to hacking into Apple accounts of various famous athletes and musicians. Furthermore, he also spent thousands of dollars from the victims’ accounts.
According to the Justice Department, the 27-year old Kwamaine Jerell Ford obtained his login credentials that belong to a number of professional athletes including players from NBA and NFL and some famous rappers via a phishing scheme. He sent emails to these players and musicians pretending to be a representative from Apple Support. However, we should add here that it has not been disclosed by the Justice Department who exactly was hacked.
The Cupertino-based technology giant reportedly received hundreds of unauthorized logins from the accounts of the victims of the hack. Once he received the login credentials of the person he emailed, Ford tried taking control of his/her account by changing email addresses and passwords. After this, victims could not access their accounts without the help of an Apple employee.
Reports suggest that Ford spent thousands of dollars on things like furniture, money transfers and travel expenses.
Speaking on the matter, FBI special agent Chris Hacker said, “The high profile victims, in this case, are an example that no matter who you are, hackers like Ford are trying to get your personal information. This case demonstrates the need to be careful in protecting personal information and passwords, especially in response to suspicious e-mails. Hopefully, this is a lesson for everyone, not just the victims in this case.”
It is worth adding that last April, Ford was formally accused on six counts including wire fraud, computer fraud, access device fraud and aggravated identity fraud. However, this week he has only pleaded guilty to computer fraud and aggravated identity theft. He would be sentenced for his crimes later this summer.
We should mention that this is not the first time that celebrities have had their Apple accounts hacked due to phishing scams. It has happened earlier too. To recall, in 2014, a major iCloud hack happened when nude photos of a number of celebrities were leaked. The hack was more popularly known as Celebgate and hackers behind it were sentenced in August 2018.