‘Turkish Crime Family’ Hacker Pleads Guilty to Apple Blackmail

(Bloomberg) -- A 22-year-old man who claimed he was the spokesman for a hacker group called the “Turkish Crime Family” pleaded guilty in London to trying to blackmail Apple Inc.

Kerem Albayrak demanded the tech giant transfer him $75,000 in crypto-currency or one thousand $100 iTunes gift cards, the National Crime Agency said in a statement. In return, he promised to delete a database that he claimed held 319 million iCloud and other Apple accounts.

He threatened to reset the accounts and put the database online if Apple failed to meet his demands and later raised the stakes by asking for $100,000.

Branded a “fame-hungry cyber-criminal” by the NCA, Albayrak told investigators that “when you have power on the internet it’s like fame and everyone respects you, and everyone is chasing that right now.”

The investigation revealed no signs that Apple’s network had been compromised. The data Albayrak claimed to have was from previously compromised third-party services which were mostly inactive, the NCA said.

He was given a two-year suspended sentence on Friday, following an NCA investigation. He was also sentenced to a six-month electronic curfew and 300 hours of unpaid work.

Albayrak had pleaded guilty to one count of blackmail, after having already admitted two counts of hindering access to a computer.

“During the investigation, it became clear that he was seeking fame and fortune,” Anna Smith, senior investigative officer at the NCA, said in a statement.

©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

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