‘Totally repugnant’ crimes detected after Essex woman’s iCloud photos plastered online
- Credit: Supplied by Essex Police
A man has been jailed for 34 months after hacking into more than 270 iCloud accounts, stealing sensitive images, and posting them online.
The offences came to light after a woman from Essex reported to Action Fraud that her iCloud account had been hacked, and that private photographs had been taken and published online.
Essex Police’s cyber crime unit established software allowing data recovery from an iCloud account had been used to access the account and take the images.
The purchase of the software was linked back to Craig Steinberg, 31, of Lily Street, Sunderland.
Further investigations identified Steinberg had used the software to get access to 272 iCloud accounts between December 9, 2015 and March 7, 2017.
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He then posted private images – sensitive and sexual in nature – on a website for which he charged people to access.
In total, he was paid about £2,300 for access to the site by users between November 29, 2015 and February 28, 2017.
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A warrant was executed at Steinberg’s address on April 11, 2017.
On December 6, he was charged with 14 counts of causing a computer to perform a function to secure or enable unauthorised access to a programme or data.
He admitted the charges at Basildon Magistrates’ Court on January 29. On Monday, he was sentenced to 34 months in prison at Newcastle Crown Court.
He has also been given a restraining order that will significantly restrict his future ownership and operation of computer equipment.
Detective Inspector Claire Talbot, of the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate Cyber Crime Unit, said: “Hacking into someone’s account and stealing personal images is a complete invasion of their privacy.
“To then exploit this by selling access to these images is totally repugnant.
“Craig Steinberg targeted hundreds of people, accessing their accounts without their permission and with no regard for their welfare, leaving them feeling violated and scared.
“While we’ve not been able to physically speak to all of the people he targeted, we have made contact with them to let them know about this investigation.
“I hope this sentence provides them with some solace. I also hope Steinberg uses his time in prison to reflect on his actions and their consequences and this will act as a deterrent to anyone else considering something similar.”