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Trusted Sunderland bar boss made money by hacking women's private pictures and posting them on porn sites

Online pervert Craig Steinberg.
Online pervert Craig Steinberg.

A trusted bar manager hacked 272 iCloud accounts and posted his victims' private pictures on amateur porn sites.

Craig Steinberg used computer software and clever guesswork to gain access to photographs of Apple customers' most intimate moments.

The 31-year-old posted the stolen images on his own websites where he charged a fee for "members" to view content and made 3,000 dollars profit.

Steinberg, who wanted to be the "big man" on public forums, was arrested when a victim in Essex found out her private collection of sexual photographs had been published online and alerted the police.

Newcastle Crown Court heard the hacker was traced through his IP address which linked him to to his home in Lily Street, near Hylton Road, Sunderland, where detectives seized three phones, nine hard-drives and three memory sticks containing damning evidence of his crimes.

Steinberg pleaded guilty to 14 offences under the Computer Misuse Act between over a 16-month period and has been jailed for a total of 34 months.

Miss Recorder Jo Kidd told him: "You did not keep this to yourself, you uploaded sexual images of those people onto forums and shared it with other people with an interest in looking at private photographs of woman.

"This was a persistent and planned attempt by you to gravely undermine a number of individuals' individual privacy.

"Your motivation was sexual and entrenched. You benefited financially and also attempted to appear the 'big man' to gain friends and influence on forums you were using."

Prosecutor Mark Giuliani told the court Steinberg, who ran a busy bar in Newcastle city centre, had used software which enabled him to hack the accounts.

Many of the victims were women.

He added: "He used Facebook to get information which allowed him to guess passwords to access the cloud."

Mr Guiliani said the police investigation was launched after a woman in Essex contacted Action Fraud about her account.

He told the court: "She reported her iCloud had been accessed and private, sexual photographs were taken from her account.

"She managed to establish they had been published on numerous internet sites."

Mr Guiliani added: "The general background is that he obtained some software which enabled him to access 272 Apple iCloud accounts for the purpose of obtaining private, sexual photographs.

"He then posted some of those images in a website he ran."

The court heard it remains unclear how many photographs were hacked and shared and exactly how many were sexual in nature.

Mr Guiliani said the victims who have been traced and identified have been left with a sense of "violation, fear, felling unsafe and insecure that their personal information has been obtained'.

He added: "Some express concern that clearly personal and intimate images of them may be seen by people they know."

Mr Guiliani said once shared online, the photographs enter the public domain, where they remain indefinitely.

Lorraine Mustard defending, said Steinberg had not realised the distress he would cause and had been under great financial pressure at he time.

Miss Mustard said Steinberg had hoped to gain "financial assistance, not huge financial advantage" and has lost the management job he had at the time of the offences.