Muswell Hill hacker who tried to blackmail tech giant Apple gets two year suspended sentence – not the $100 gift cards he wanted

Kerem Albayrak. Picture: NCA

Kerem Albayrak. Picture: NCA - Credit: Archant

A Muswell Hill computer hacker tried to blackmail tech giant Apple by claiming he had access to 319 million iCloud accounts.

Kerem Albayrak, 22, of Springfield Avenue demanded $75,000 in crypto-currency or a thousand $100 iTunes gift cards from the US company in return for deleting a database of accounts which he had threatened to factory reset.

He was arrested on March 28 2017 and after a National Crime Agency (NCA) investigation, it was found he was the spokesperson for a group who called themselves "Turkish Crime Family".

The NCA said Albayrak had told officers: "Once you get sucked into it [cyber crime], it just escalates and it makes it interesting when it's illegal. When you have power on the internet it's like fame and everyone respects you, and everyone is chasing that right now."

Albayrak emailed Apple to make the threat on March 12 2017, before filming himself accessing two iCloud accounts and sending the video to the company a week later, as he tried to increase his financial demands.

The NCA investigation also confirmed there were no signs of Apple's network having been compromised and that the data Albayrak claimed to have was actually obtained fromfrom "previously compromised" third-party services which were mostly inactive.

Albayrak pleaded guilty to a blackmail charge on December 2 this year, having previously admitted two cyber-crime charges.

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On December 20 he was given a two year suspended jail term, 300 hours of unpaid work and a six month electronic curfew at Southwark Crown Court.

Anna Smith, a senior officer at the NCA, said: "Albayrak wrongly believed he could escape justice after hacking in to two accounts and attempting to blackmail a large multi-national corporation.

"During the investigation, it became clear that he was seeking fame and fortune. But cyber-crime doesn't pay."

Ms Smith said it was "imperative" those who believe themselves to be victims of cyber-crime reported it.

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