iCloud Instrumental in Tracking Down Anonymous Twitter Troll Who Sent Seizure Inducing Tweets to a Journalist

An anonymous Twitter account on a prepaid SIM card, bought with cash. With no credit card or other identifiable info tied to the account, there should have been no way to trace tweets back to a human.

But given the kind of privacy safeguards that smartphones have these days, it could have been pretty tough to reveal the abuser’s identity. But that wasn’t the case as illustrated by the case information which is now public.
 Firstly, the police asked Twitter to send all the data it has on the user. This didn’t lead them anywhere as it only got them a proxy email address, the user’s IP info as well as a prepaid Tracfone number. The authorities hit another roadblock when they found that Tracfone didn’t have any records on the phone number.

However, AT&T, which was supporting this particular Tracfone SIM card at the time, managed to uncover the fact that the number had been accessed by an iPhone 6. Beyond this, it was as simple as looking for an iCloud account associated with the phone number and the authorities had their big break. Subsequent investigations revealed that the user was John Rivello from Salisbury, Maryland. It was also revealed that the iCloud account was in operation for over five years.



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