Ex-Yahoo Engineer Pleads Guilty to Hacking Thousands of Accounts to Search for Nude Photos

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A former Yahoo software engineer who worked at the tech company for more than a decade pleaded guilty on Monday to accessing email accounts belonging to thousands of customers while searching for sexually explicit content.

Reyes Daniel Ruiz, 34, confessed to using his company access to breach the accounts, accessing internal systems and cracking passwords, according to a statement released by the U.S. Attorney’s office in the Northern District of California. “Ruiz admitted to targeting accounts belonging to younger women, including his personal friends and work colleagues,” the office said.

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The statement goes on to say that Ruiz copied videos and photos for personal storage. After he breached the Yahoo accounts, he reportedly went even deeper—compromising those users’ other online accounts, such as Facebook, Gmail, iCloud, and DropBox, searching for more sensitive material. He was able to do this by obtaining password resets of these platforms through the Yahoo mail accounts.

Ruiz admitted that when Yahoo uncovered suspicious activity, Ruiz destroyed his hard drive and computer, according to the court statement.

ZDNet reports that Ruiz left his position at Yahoo in July 2018 and has recently worked at a company that handles single sign-on solutions.

The engineer was charged with one count of wire communication interception and one count of computer intrusion. He made a plea agreement that only required him to plead guilty to the charge of intrusion. His sentencing hearing is scheduled for February of next year. He reportedly faces up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine with restitution.

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Jennings Brown

Senior editor and reporter at Gizmodo