Yahoo! was once the 'Google' of the old World Wide Web. With its numerous products, the company was at the peak of the food chain, and had more users than almost anything the internet had ever seen.
Working at the company, Reyes Daniel Ruiz had the chances to scout for users' data. And with his privilege, he was able to gain the necessary information to hack into at least 6,000 Yahoo! accounts in his quest to search for racy pictures and other explicit contents.
On September 30, Ruiz plead guilty at the court after the Verizon-owned company found what he did while he was still employed at the internet giant.
According to reports, he admitted to specifically targeting the accounts of young women, both friends and colleagues, hoping to get a hold of their most intimate and explicit images and videos.
Ruiz, who left the company back in July 2018, also admitted to the court that once Yahoo! started investigating, he immediately destroyed his computer and hard drive on which he stored the explicit contents he allegedly took.
Ruiz managed to hack into those many accounts, by accessing the various internal systems Yahoo! uses. Using the data, he went on to access those users' accounts on iCloud, Facebook, Gmail, Dropbox and other online services to find more private images and videos.
Under a plea agreement in the San Jose federal court, California, Ruiz is charged with one count of computer intrusion.
The charge carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison and a fine of $250,000, plus restitution.
The indictment can be seen here.
Founded in 1994, Yahoo! was one of the most successful internet companies, at the time when many parts of the world was still in the dark.
At that time, the World Wide Web was mostly disorganized. What Yahoo! did, was creating a directory to manage those websites, so people could easily find them. In other words, Yahoo! was the search engine of the web, the classic that made it astonishingly popular.
When Google was born in 1998, things started to shift.
As a specialized search engine, Google created crawlers to scout the web for websites, jumping from one link to another, and scan the contents within. Using PageRank, the search engine ranks websites' web pages, according to their popularity.
Fast forward, Yahoo!'s grip on the web loosened. The company can no longer keep its shine, and people started wondering what would this giant become. Verizon acquired Yahoo!, in the hopes to revive the giant, putting it up once again on its feet.
But since then, Yahoo!'s bad reputation started to unearth. One of the most notable, was Yahoo! in experiencing a massive breach in 2013, which affected over 3 billion people — pretty much all of its users.
And Ruiz here, is adding yet another headache to the already-struggling Yahoo!.