Security Experts:

Georgia Man Admits to Hacking Accounts of Athletes and Musicians

A Georgia man admitted to hacking into the Apple accounts of high-profile professional athletes and musicians and to stealing the credit card information of some of them. 

The man, Kwamaine Jerell Ford, 27, of Dacula, tricked victims into revealing their Apple account passwords and accessed the accounts to steal sensitive data. He also stole credit card numbers of several victims and spent thousands of dollars on personal expenses charged to the athletes’ accounts.

According to information presented in court, Ford leveraged a phishing scheme to obtain Apple account credentials. He primarily targeted college and professional athletes, including NBA and NFL players, and rappers in his scheme.

Ford set up accounts to spoof the legitimate Apple customer service, and used those to send thousands of phishing emails to intended victims, asking them to reveal their login credentials, claiming they were needed either to reset Apple accounts or access videos individuals were purportedly trying to send the victims. 

Ford then logged into the victims’ Apple accounts and attempted to take over them by resetting the passwords, changing contact email address, and modifying the security challenge questions. Victims were forced to contact Apple by phone to prove their identity. 

Hundreds of unauthorized logins to victim Apple accounts were recorded. 

In some cases, Ford found credit card information in the hijacked accounts and used the data to “pay for thousands of dollars in air travel, hotel stays, other travel expenses, furniture, and money transfers to online payment accounts under his control,” the Department of Justice reveals. 

Ford was indicted on April 17, 2018, on six counts each of wire fraud, computer fraud, access device fraud, and aggravated identity theft. He pleaded guilty to one count of computer fraud and one count of aggravated identity theft and is scheduled for sentencing on June 24, 2019. 

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