Yahoo has been in hot water many times in the past because of the company’s inability to secure user accounts. If you have a Yahoo account, odds are that someone has hacked into it at some point. Most of these incidents are just as a result of poor cyber-security measures by Yahoo though as the attacks are usually external. One peculiar incident, however, has surfaced recently involving one of Yahoo’s own.
A former Yahoo employee has reportedly admitted that he used his access at the company to hack into over 6,000 Yahoo accounts to extract private photos and videos of users. He stated that his primary focus was on sexually explicit personal content making things even worse.
The former employee, 34-year-old Reyes Daniel Ruiz, was a software engineer at Yahoo, according to a press release by the U.S. Justice Department. Ruiz admitted that he misused his powers to access the internal systems of Yahoo to hack into accounts of all sorts of people, including his friends and colleagues.
Former Yahoo employee used Yahoo to hack other accounts too
Once Ruiz managed to access the Yahoo accounts of all these users, most of whom were younger women, he then extracted information from those accounts to use it elsewhere. Most cloud storage services are linked to an email ID. So, naturally, he used the Yahoo emails to access the iCloud, Gmail, Dropbox, Mega, Facebook and various other personal accounts of these users to extract personal and private data.
Furthermore, he also kept copies of most of these private images and videos and stored them on his personal computer, presumably to blackmail the users. However, thankfully, Ruiz was caught in the act by one of his colleagues at the company who noticed his unusual activity. Ruiz then went on to destroy all traces of the copies he had made to get rid of any proof left, which meant destroying his personal computer and the hard drives. It did not really work though as the truth eventually came out.
What will happen?
A federal grand jury then went on to indict Ruiz and charged him for computer intrusion and interception of a wire communication. He pleaded guilty to these charges and could face up to five years in prison with a $250,000 restitution fine for his victims. However, the damage that he had done before he destroyed those hard drives can not be judged. The eventual sentence hearing is on February 3, 2020. Until then, Ruiz is on release on a $200,000 bond.
Yahoo’s track record has not been particularly good and this will not really help the company’s case either. The once mega-corporation has been in decline for a very long time and it seems like things just keep getting worse.
We’ve seen some massive data breaches at Yahoo and the company has now started to face repercussions for it. Recently, as a result of a class action settlement, Yahoo is now liable to compensate its users for data breaches between 2012 and 2016. In fact, if you are a US or Israel resident and had a Yahoo account between 2012 and 2016, you might actually be able to claim a part of the $117,500,000 settlement fund.