North London Hacker Who Asked Apple For Bitcoin Ransom, Arrested And Charged

An IT analyst from North London has been arrested and charged in connection with allegedly accessing Apple accounts through the ICloud without authorization or permission, and then making financial demands to the giant tech company. Specifically, he was charged with one count of blackmail, along with two counts of unauthorized acts intending to hinder access to a computer.

The 21-year-old differed from other ransom requests in that he actually uploaded videos of his actions to Youtube, showing him actually hacking the aforementioned accounts. He appeared at Westminster Magistrates’ court, where he was granted unconditional bail.

The young man, named Kerem Albayrak, allegedly demanded $75,000 USD ($50,000 GBP) in Bitcoin, but later adjusted his request, increasing the ransom to $150,000 USD ($130,000 GBP) worth of Bitcoin along with $1,100 USD ($800 GBP) in Itunes gift cards. If he was not paid, he threatened to sell the personal data of 319 million Apple users.

This is not the first time that a Bitcoin ransom has been demanded. In July of this year, a successful South African businessman was kidnapped, and his kidnappers demanded a ransom of 50 BTC. The businessman, Liyaqat Parker, made it home safely to his family last month in September, although the authorities refuse to confirm or deny where the ransom was met.

This also follows another recent criminal incident involving Bitcoin, where a Norwegian man was murdered after converting his cryptocurrency holdings into fiat currency.  Authorities have acknowledged that Bitcoin might play a role but refused to elaborate on the investigation. In this particular case, authorities were luckily able to track down Mr. Albayrak before he utilized any of the information that he was able to obtain.

Mr. Albayrak is next scheduled to appear at Southwark Crown Court next month for a plea and trial preparation hearing.