Tor Johannes Helleland
"I've been an asshole. I am ashamed and I'd do anything to reverse it," Tor Johannes Helleland, 23, told VG newspaper .
Helleland, who represents the Conservative party on the Drammen city Council, is the son of MP Trond Helleland (51) and the stepson of former Conservative women's political spokeswoman Linda Hofstad Helleland (35). His parents said in a statement Monday that they were shocked and appalled by their son's actions.
The victims first became aware of the violation in February when one of them learned of the photos posted online. Since then it has taken computer expert Einar Stangvik six months to track down the culprit.
Stangvik caught the perpetrator by building a fake porn website, which he used to trick successive 'iCloud hackers' into revealing their IP addresses.
"When I got a match – which was due to equal measures of luck and persistence on my part – I started communicating with the culprit," he told The Local.
Posing as a child who wanted to hack his step-sister's iCloud, he gradually accumulated more and more information until he managed to identify the man's email address, using what he calls an "oversight on Microsoft's part" which enabled him to "see through" encryption. He then linked the email to the man's addresses on political websites.
Stangvik said such iCloud-hackers were a growing phenomenon. "It's big. There are entire internet communities dedicated to finding and exploiting these targets," he said.
The culprit had used data publicly available on Facebook and other social networking sites to guess the answers to the iCloud security questions of his victims, most of whom he knew personally.
"These were pictures that only I and no one else was supposed to see," one of the victims, a 21-year-old girl, told VG. "The worst thing is that this man had full control of my life for almost a year."
Jan Tore Sanner, the party's deputy chairman said: "This is a reckless violation of vulnerable young people which is totally incompatible with having a position in the Conservative Party." The man, who has not been named to protect the identity of his victims, held meetings with Sanner and other senior party representatives on Saturday and Sunday before deciding to step down.
The police have been informed but have yet to decide whether to arrest the man or bring him in for questioning.