Former Yahoo software engineer Reyes Ruiz has pleaded guilty to hacking at least 6,000 user accounts to look for sexually explicit material, the US Department of Justice (DOJ) said in a statement on Tuesday.
The 34-year-old from Tracy, California, specifically admitted to mostly targeting female colleagues and friends when he used his access through his work at the company to hack into their accounts.
“Ruiz cracked user passwords, and accessed internal Yahoo systems” to compromise the victims’ accounts,” the statement added.
After doing so, Ruiz then compromised their iCloud, Facebook, Gmail, DropBox, and/or other online accounts “in search of more private images and videos.”
“He made copies of images and videos that he found in the personal accounts without permission, and stored the data at his home,” the DOJ statement said.
According to the document, after Ruiz’s employer discovered the suspicious account activity, the engineer “admitted to destroying the computer and hard drive on which he stored the images.”
If convicted, Reyes Ruiz faces up to five years behind bars, a $250,000 fine and restitution.
The Yahoo engineer, who was released on an unsecured $200,000 bond, is slated to face trial in February 2020.