Tech

This Saudi Teen Is Probably Behind The Hacks Of Dozens Of Tech CEOs And Celebrities

OurMine, scourge of Mark Zuckerberg, Sundar Pichai, Travis Kalanick and others, looks like the brainchild of a soccer-obsessed high school student.

Posted on

Over the past six months, the hacking group OurMine has attacked the social media accounts of some of the biggest names in tech, including Google CEO Sundar Pichai, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, and Uber CEO Travis Kalanick. Lacking a clear raison detre — OurMine has variously claimed to be raising awareness of security problems and to be charging for its security services — the group has nevertheless established themselves as a nuisance to dozens of tech luminaries and celebrities.

And while OurMine comprises an unknown number of hackers, BuzzFeed News can confirm that one of the OurMine crew is likely a young man living in Saudi Arabia who goes by the name "Ahmad Makki" on social media.

A screenshot provided to BuzzFeed News shows an August 12 Snapchat email notification, sent to "0ahmadmakki0@gmail.com," of a phone number reset for an account belonging to "snapuldouz." That account belongs to Uldouz Wallace, an actress and model with a huge following on Instagram and YouTube. The same day, Wallace tweeted that OurMine hacked her Snapchat and Twitter accounts. By publicly announcing their hacks and sometimes posing as benevolent researchers, OurMine has annoyed many in the hacking and cybersecurity worlds, and Makki's name has repeatedly come up in doxxes by rival hacking groups. But this screenshot is the first hard proof of his participation in OurMine.

The email in the screenshot corresponds to an Instagram account with the username 0ahmadmakki0 that appears to belong to a high schooler in Saudi Arabia who goes by "Ahmad Makki" on social media. An image on 0ahmadmakki0's Instagram from 2013 shows that the biography text on the page used to read "Our-Mine.net." A corresponding Facebook page shows that Makki is soccer-obsessed and lives in Jeddah. (One of the aforementioned doxxes traced the IP address used by a Skype account allegedly associated with OurMine to Jeddah.)

Makki also maintains a YouTube channel, Makki News, where in a news-style broadcast he announced the hack of Sony Studios President Shuhei Yoshida and solicited donations for OurMine.

In a message from its official email account, OurMine denied that Makki is a member: "Nope a lot of people thought he is a member of OurMine , but he is just afan, for this reason people thought we are from saudi arabia, we are not."

Makki did not respond to an email, Instagram, Snapchat, or Facebook request for comment.

Joe Bernstein is a senior technology reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York. Bernstein reports on and writes about the gaming industry and web culture.

Contact Joseph Bernstein at joe.bernstein@buzzfeed.com.

Got a confidential tip? Submit it here.