Hieu Minh Ngo, also infamously known as HieuPC, hacked a group of major data brokers a few years ago and sold stolen identity records including a consumer’s name, date of birth, social security numbers, emails, and physical addresses, earning a whopping figure of $125,000 per month.
According to KrebsonSecurity, “Ngo’s businesses enabled an entire generation of cybercriminals to commit an estimated $1 billion worth of new account fraud, and to sully the credit histories of countless Americans in the process.”
In a new video, HieuPC says that Apple helped the FBI to lure, track, and finally arrest him. We’ve reached out to Apple for comment and will update this article as soon as we receive a response.
KrebsonSecurity offers an interesting account of his arrest. Apparently, the FBI set up a trap for HieuPC luring him out of Vietnam and into Guam, which is “an unincorporated territory of the United States in the western Pacific Ocean.”
The source who revealed this information to Krebs also revealed that HieuPC was arrested as soon as he landed in Guam. The US Secret Service declined to reveal any details about the lure.
However, in his video, HieuPC says that Apple played a role in his arrest. He said that the FBI installed some kind of tracking chips and spyware that Apple repackaged and sold to his friend. When he interacted with his friend, the FBI was able to track him which ultimately lead to his arrest.
There is no further confirmation of this event except for Ngo’s statements claiming Apple did so.
HieuPC was arrested back in 2013 and has recently completed his term and returned to his country, Vietnam. You can read the complaint against Ngo (AKA HieuPC) here.
This is especially concerning considering Apple’s public stance on privacy. The FBI wanted to crack the iPhone of Syed Farook who was a suspect in the 2015 San Bernandino shooting. But Apple CEO Tim Cook stayed firm on his stance that Apple would never help law enforcement when it comes to breaching user privacy.
Cook’s decision established a rift between the FBI and Apple dragging both parties in front of a jury until the FBI itself backed down.
If what HieuPC told is true, who’s to say Apple didn’t collaborate with law enforcement to track individuals using Apple products? Let us know what you think in the comments section below.