A former employee of prominent home security company ADT has admitted that he hacked into the surveillance feeds of dozens of customer homes, doing so primarily to spy on naked women or to leer at unsuspecting couples while they had sex.
Telesforo Aviles, 35, pleaded guilty to a count of computer fraud in federal court this week, confessing that he inappropriately accessed the accounts of customers some 9,600 times over the course of several years. He is alleged to have done this to over 200 customers.
Authorities say that the IT technician “took note of which homes had attractive women, then repeatedly logged into these customers’ accounts in order to view their footage for sexual gratification.” He did this by adding his personal email address to customer accounts, which ultimately hooked him into “real-time access to the video feeds from their homes.”
Aviles, who now faces up to five years in prison, sometimes “claimed he needed to add himself temporarily in order to ‘test’ the system; in other instances, he added himself without their knowledge,” officials said.
“This defendant, entrusted with safeguarding customers’ homes, instead intruded on their most intimate moments,” acting U.S. Attorney Prerak Shah said in a statement. “We are glad to hold him accountable for this disgusting betrayal of trust.”
Yes, there are home security data breaches and then there are royal data apocalypses—and this incident certainly falls in the latter category.
News of the scandal initially emerged last April, and ADT quickly reported the breach publicly: “We deeply regret this incident and remain committed to working with law enforcement to support them in whatever they need to help bring justice to the victims of this former employee,” the company wrote on its website.
The case has inspired multiple lawsuits, however—three of which are ongoing. Customers claim that shortly after contacting them about the security incident, ADT tried “paying them off in exchange for their silence” via confidentiality agreements. One customer claims she was initially offered $2,500. When she refused, the company allegedly upped the offer to $50,000, BuzzFeed reports.
The company further told BuzzFeed that it is “continuing to respond to the lawsuits and has resolved the concerns of most of the 220 impacted customers, including those who have retained attorneys to address the issue.”
“Some of these customers were previous victims of assault. They were relying on ADT to provide them with a sense of safety and security. Instead, they were victimized again,” said an attorney involved in one of the cases, highlighting the psychological effects of such an invasion of privacy.