Guilty Plea for Former Yahoo Employee Hacking Accounts

Recently, a former employee for Yahoo was sent before a judge and pleaded guilty for hacking into 6,000 accounts to gain access to sexually explicit pictures.  Reyes Daniel Ruiz targeted co-workers, friends, and young women to where he could download the images and store them on his computer.

The U.S. Attorney’s office for the Northern District of California revealed Ruiz, 34, of Tracy California, hacked “into the accounts of thousands of Yahoo users in search of private and personal records, primarily sexual images and videos of the account holders,” as revealed by the United States Attorney David L. Anderson and Federal Bureau of Investigation Special Agent in Charge John F. Bennett.

Ruiz was a software engineer and admitted he “cracked user passwords, and accessed internal Yahoo systems to compromise the Yahoo accounts.”  He told the courtroom he would target women who were colleagues and friends and opened up their accounts, finding videos or pictures which interested him then download whatever he could find and keep them at his residence.

He also “admitted to compromising the iCloud, Facebook, Gmail, DropBox, and other online accounts of the Yahoo users in search of more private images and videos.”  When he realized Yahoo caught on to what was happening, he destroyed both the hard drive and his computer.

Yahoo dismissed Ruiz, and he went on to work for another San Francisco based software company called Okta.  At the time the company hired Ruiz last year in October, they had no prior knowledge of what Ruiz was doing at Yahoo.  Once the indictment went public, Okta terminated Ruiz.

A spokesman for Okta released this statement, “The privacy and security of our customers is our top priority, and immediately upon learning of the indictment, Ruiz’s access was revoked, and Okta worked with a third party to conduct a forensic analysis, which confirmed that no company or customer data was compromised.”

Ruiz was indicted on April 4 before a federal grand jury where he pleaded guilty to “a single count of computer intrusion.”  In addition, he was charged with “a single count of interception of a wire communication.  Prosecutors later dropped the second charge with the guilty plea of Ruiz.

The judge set bail at $200,000, and Ruiz was released after “pursuant to the conditions of the unsecured bond.”  He is scheduled to reappear in court on February 3, 2020, in San Jose, California before the U.S. District Court Judge, The Honorable Edward J. Davila for sentencing where he can receive up to five years in jail and pay a restitution fine of $250,000 or more.

According to the Department of Justice’s website, “Daniel Kaleba is the Assistant U.S. Attorney who is prosecuting the case with the assistance of Tong Zhang. The prosecution is the result of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.”

Hacking is a serious offense that has plagued the internet since it was introduced to the world.  Along with the many good uses we find with the internet, everyone needs to keep in the back of their minds, it can happen to anyone.

Hackers are well experienced and can do just about anything on a computer.  The best word of caution is if something should not be seen by the world or one of the perverts who do these things, then do not put it online.  On many occasions, it is just for the hackers’ pleasure. Still, there are many cases where the victim can be blackmailed into doing something they do not want to do.

Still other instances it can lead to kidnapping and murder.  Everything in life has a safety button.  Everyone should use it and take precautions.  Yes, the internet is fun and saves people a lot of valuable time.

Still, criminals use the internet to lure young children and women into an innocent conversation or website where personal information can be obtained.  Once this information is entered, it is too late.  The hackers take the data and run with it.  In many cases, a person does not know they are hacked until it is too late.

Credit cards, passwords, Social Security numbers, bank accounts, and pictures or videos can be stolen to where the hacker can become the person they are attacking.

A person’s identification can be stolen with just a little bit of information from the victim.  The elderly and children are the most vulnerable to these attacks.  Bottom line, keep all personal stuff to one’s self and guard it with your life.