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Man Pleads Guilty For Hacking Facebook and Email, Sending Nude Pictures of Victims

Man Pleads Guilty For Hacking Facebook and Email, Sending Nude Pictures of Victims

In a stark reminder that there is no such thing as security and privacy online, a man in California has plead guilty to gleaning personal information from women’s facebook pages, using it to hack into their email and facebook accounts.  He then searched for any sexually explicit photos and sent them to the women’s contacts or posted them online.

Via CBS News:

Prosecutors said [George] Bronk would scan women’s Facebook accounts looking for those who posted their e-mail addresses. He would then study their Facebook postings to learn the answers to common security questions like their favorite color or father’s middle name.

He contacted the women’s e-mail providers and used the information to gain control of their accounts. He also often gained control of their Facebook accounts by hijacking their passwords, then posted compromising photographs on their Facebook pages and other Internet sites.

“This case highlights the fact that anyone with an e-mail account is vulnerable to identity theft,” Attorney General Kamala Harris said in a statement announcing Bronk’s guilty plea.

Investigators found 172 e-mail files containing explicit photographs of women when they searched Bronk’s computer in September, according to a court affidavit. They were able to track his victims to England, Washington, D.C., and 17 states: Alabama, Arizona, California, Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Texas, Virginia and Washington.

How can you avoid being victimized online?  Make sure you use multiple, secure passwords at all of your different sites, versus one password for everything.  Never use your name, familial names, or pet names in passwords.  Be careful about what sort of personal information you put online.  And never send any picture anywhere to anyone that you would not be ok with seeing up on the internet, accessible to the entire world.

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136 comments

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5:04AM PDT on Mar 17, 2011

At least the man was caught. As for privacy in cyberspace, everything becomes public.

3:13AM PST on Feb 16, 2011

I agree with Greg B. What kind of fool has nude pics of themselves online with any expectation of privacy? Glad the perp got pinched and sent to jail, but women need to get smarter about trusting the wrong kind of men.

9:29AM PST on Jan 27, 2011

He got what he deserve

11:44PM PST on Jan 26, 2011

I disagree with the authors idea of security about passwords and the like. The real answer is biometrics identification. No sane person can remember userid & passwords from 50 sites.
The identification by biometrics is reasonably secure. Add in better encryption of data that the site uses is a big factor in security as well

3:59PM PST on Jan 26, 2011

If he was posting girls pics, that is a form of child porn, and he got only 6 years? Teens try to pull stuff all the time. So the fact that this guy was taking advantage is a sign he is an online sex predator of not just women, but our youth, also.

To ensure people like him get a stiff sentence for being an online sex predator to spread a version of kiddie porn, please keep signing these petitions to put minimum sentencing on people like this. Regardless of how he got the photos, it's not his to post in public, period.

April's Law Petition -
http://www.thepetitionsite.com/1/worldwide-petition-for-aprils-law-in-the-us/

April's Law Wisconsin -
http://www.thepetitionsite.com/1/aprils-law-wisconsin/

This is being talked about in the Wisconsin legislature as we speak.

12:50PM PST on Jan 22, 2011

i agree with suzanne m, you can help avoid having your information hacked by watching what you put online-- if you are careful its a better chance you wont have this happen to you... make sure your personal information is not available, unless you want it to be for your FRIENDS only, not "friends of friends" also. dont put your actual age on there, if you have your birthdate, DONT put the year. dont put your actual birthplace, maybe someplace close to it. i read that it doesnt take much to find out your age, and birthplace, and a few other things to quickly find out your social security number and take your identity! be careful people, quit blaming facebook bc its up to YOU to do your privacy settings... and yes its not a big deal to take pics, but you shouldnt put it on the internet unless you dont mind it going public!

7:51PM PST on Jan 20, 2011

People need to realize that what you have on your computer or out there in cyberspace is not secure. Anyone with the know-how can access the information. Too many people post way too much personal information on Facebook and then complain that their account gets hacked or their privacy is violated.

7:21PM PST on Jan 20, 2011

Rae Z. knowledge is power. If you don't know how its done then you won't know how to prevent it. I for one would have learnt from the article to:
a. not have my email address accessible on my facebook account to the public.
b. not use simple to answer security questions like my pets name or my favourite colour because anyone can learn that.
c. not store any compromising pictures of myself on my facebook account or in my email accounts.
d. not use the same password for multiple accounts
c. set my security on Facebook so that only friends can see my posts and pictures. Not everyone and not friends of friends.

Amber M. people take explicit pictures of themselves because it can liven up your sex life or make you feel naughty and sexy. Don't be so prudish.

11:42AM PST on Jan 20, 2011

I have 2 things to say.

1. I think 6 years is a fair sentence for the crime.

and 2. why are you taking nude and explicit photos of yourself anyway?
and don't you know that there is no privacy online and that anything could potentially be hacked at any time?
don't put something on your computer or online that you wouldn't want anyone seeing. that's common sense.

11:12AM PST on Jan 20, 2011

What kills me is that, in articles like this, they sit here and tell everyone HOW they did it! You want to fight crime? Quit teaching people how to commit it!

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
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Colleen H. Colleen H. is an Online Campaigner with Care2 and a recent transplant to San Francisco from the East... more
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