Ex – Yahoo Employee Sneaks into 6000 Accounts for Sexual Content

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Reyes Daniel Ruiz, 34, of Tracy, California, a former Yahoo software engineer, pleaded guilty in federal court in San Jose, California on September 30, 2019. It was reported in a press note released by United States of Justice.

Ruiz admitted to misusing his access through his work at the company to hack into about 6,000 Yahoo accounts in search of private and personal records, primarily sexual images and videos of the account holders, announced United States Attorney David L. Anderson and FBI Special Agent in Charge John F. Bennett. 

Ruiz cracked yahoo user passwords and compromised their respective accounts to gain access to photos, videos primarily targeting younger women, including his personal friends and colleagues. He made copies of these personal files without permission and stored the data at his home. 

Once, the guilty made his access, he also compromised iCloud, Facebook, Gmail, DropBox, and other online accounts of the yahoo users in search of more private images and videos exchanged among younger users. After his employer observed the suspicious account activity, Ruiz admitted to destroying the computer and hard drive on which he stored the images.  

Ruiz was indicted by a federal Grand Jury on April 4, 2019.  He was charged with one count of Computer Intrusion, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1030(a)(2)(C), and one count of Interception of Wire Communication, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2511(1)(a) and (4)(a).  Under the plea agreement, pled guilty to the count of Computer Intrusion.

Ruiz is currently on release pursuant to the conditions of an unsecured $200,000 bond.     

Ruiz’s sentencing hearing is scheduled for February 3, 2020, at 1:30 p.m. before The Honorable Edward J. Davila, U.S. District Court Judge, in San Jose. The maximum statutory penalty for each count in violation of Computer Intrusion, 18 U.S.C. § 1030(a)(2)(C), is five years imprisonment and a fine of $250,000, plus restitution.  However, any sentence will be imposed by the court only after consideration of the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and the federal statute governing the imposition of a sentence, 18 U.S.C. § 3553.

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 FBI. 

Social media users blindly believe that the chat between two users is private and safe. However, the above case has proved that it is no more private and a third person can anytime intrude into your privacy. So, users should take utmost care and caution while sharing personal images and videos via WhatsApp or any other platforms. 

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