A former Yahoo software engineer has admitted in court to hacking into the accounts of thousands of the platform’s users.
The man, Reyes Daniel Ruiz, 34, of Tracy, California, pleaded guilty to accessing about 6,000 Yahoo accounts, in search of private and personal records, mainly sexual images and videos.
Ruiz performed the hacking through cracking user passwords for access, but also leveraged internal Yahoo systems to compromise the Yahoo accounts, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.
Ruiz admitted to targeting accounts belonging to younger women, personal friends and work colleagues included. Leveraging the unauthorized access to those accounts, he made copies of any images and videos found, and stored them at his home.
Following the hacking of the Yahoo accounts, Ruiz also targeted iCloud, Facebook, Gmail, Dropbox, and other online accounts of his victims, looking for additional private images and videos.
Ruiz also admitted to destroying the computer and hard drive on which the compromised data was stored, after his employer noticed the suspicious account activity.
Ruiz was charged on April 4, 2019, with one count of Computer Intrusion and one count of Interception of a Wire Communication.
He pleaded guilty to the count of Computer Intrusion and is scheduled for sentencing on February 3, 2020. The maximum statutory penalty he faces is five years imprisonment and a fine of $250,000, plus restitution.