Roberto Escobar, former Medellín Cartel accountant, sues Apple for $2.6 billion, report says

A screenshot of Roberto Escobar's gold iPhone. Escobar is suing Apple for $2.6 billion. (Getty Images)

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When you’re trying to market a new smartphone product is it more cost-effective to hire a public relations firm, or sue Apple for $2.6 billion?

It’s a question that Pablo Escobar’s brother must have asked himself before he filed a suit against Apple, seeking damages for an alleged iPhone security flaw that made it possible for attackers to threaten his safety.

Roberto Escobar claims hackers exploited a vulnerability in an iPhone X to uncover his address in FaceTime, then sent him a threatening letter, forcing Escobar to relocate for his own safety and spend money on a security detail. The suit, first reported by TMZ, coincides with Escobar’s efforts to sell a limited-edition gold-plated iPhone 11 for $499, less than Apple’s price, and his launch of “RIP Apple,” a site that he said will include “proof showing how the people of the world were scammed by Apple Inc., buying crap for crazy prices.”

At press time, the RIP Apple site triggered a security warning in Google Chrome, advising that attackers may try to steal visitors’ personal information.

Escobar previously released a line of foldable gold phones that used the mug shot of his deceased brother as the default background, Apple Insider reported. At the time, Escobar promised he would sue Apple for $30 billion for selling “worthless phones.”

Roberto Escobar, 73, worked as the accountant for the Medellín Cartel, the Colombian organized crime syndicate that flooded the U.S. with cocaine in the 1980s and 1990s under the leadership of Pablo Escobar.

Since his brother’s death in 1993, and his own release from prison in 2004, Roberto Escobar has written a memoir about his time in the drug world, and accused Elon Musk of stealing his intellectual property in the form of a propane torch made to look like a flamethrower.

In 2019, Apple announced numerous security updates meant to safeguard its products from outside attackers. One fix, published in January, disabled the group chat feature of its FaceTime video calling service after hackers proved they could eavesdrop on others via audio and video. By leveraging the flaw, attackers could trick FaceTime into believing a group call had started, then listen to audio from the call recipient’s device.

Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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Apple, facetime, Medellin Cartel, Pablo Escobar, Roberto Escobar
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