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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