Man Jailed for Developing App to Hack Website to Steal Nude Photos

His victims have embarrassing pictures traded around pornographic websites, perhaps permanently.

A Colorado Springs hacker who sold computer code that allowed people, including blackmailers, to scan Photobucket’s cache of 10 billion customer photographs and videos for nude and pornographic images and steal them was sentenced Tuesday to 29 months in prison…

Bourret sold the application, developed in 2006, under the online handle phatWares. The tool allowed his customers to gain illegal access to protected albums…

The app allowed users to search for underage girls or someone of a specific race, or for a particular sexual activity…

…He admitted that his customers accessed the accounts of 1.9 million people or about 2 percent of their clientele.

Among the victims was a woman identified only be the initial K, said prosecutor David Tonini. In her victim impact statement, K wrote: “‘This will never go away.’”

Read more about it at the Denver Post.

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Woman Scams Victims by Getting Personal Info from Facebook

(Original story at the Straits Times here.)

Scammers’ tactics evolve as people catch on to what they are doing. A few years ago, my coworker’s Facebook account got hacked into and her password was changed. During the time that my friend was locked out of her account, the hacker signed on to the chat feature and asked her Facebook friends — I was one of them — to send money to “her” bank account as she was stuck in London after being robbed and left penniless.

I knew that my coworker wasn’t in London, and I contacted her through AIM (AOL Instant Messenger) and asked her what that was about. She then told me that her account was hacked and she was locked out, and that I should not send money to “her.” Fortunately for my coworker, she got the access to her account back after contacting Facebook.

I believe that this particular type of scam is no longer common.

I recently signed up for a savings account at a local bank and opted for online banking. As part of their identity protection feature, the sign-on procedure required me to provide answers to some predetermined and pre-answered security questions, such as the name of my maternal grandfather and my high school mascot.

Guess what? Such information can be garnered from your Facebook profile and from Google searches, particularly if you’re one of those who use it as a means to keep track of the happenings in your life with the timeline feature. Of course, there are other features in place (such as your username and password) to keep your bank account and its contents secure, but those extra security features are rendered useless if the information is available online.

The bad news is this information might be used to scam your friends and relatives, as the following story shows.

Cheat dupes victims by getting personal details from Facebook

Published on Jan 11, 2012

By Fiona Low

Police have arrested a 22-year-old woman who is believed to be involved in at least seven cases of cheating.

Tan Si Ying, Tricia, who is unemployed, operated her scam by pretending to be her victims’ cousin. She would then say she needed money and ask for a loan. Preliminary investigations show that Tan got contact information about her victims through social networking site Facebook. She would trawl through the postings on their page to find out the names of their cousins.

Tan contacted her victims via SMS asking them for a loan urgently. She would also say that she had either lost or changed her handphone number to explain the unfamiliar number she was using, after which she would provide the victims a POSB bank account number for them to transfer the money to.

The seven victims were duped of amounts varying between $500 and $2,000. The victims only realised they had been conned after verifying with their cousins.

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Man Hacks Into Women’s Facebook Accounts, Sends Nude Photos and Videos

(Original story at Boston.com here.)

While this story is about a creep who hacked into others’ Facebook accounts and got jailed for it (among other offenses), this is a good reminder to Facebook users that as Facebook shares more and more about our lives online publicly, other aspects of our online lives will get less and less secure.

The article does not address the issue of how the women’s lives were affected by Bronk’s despicable actions, but could you imagine the humiliation that they faced after their friends and relatives found out that they had taken nude photos and videos of themselves? Would those pictures and videos find their way onto certain blogs or websites?

Facebook stalker gets 4 years for cyber offenses

July 23, 2011|Associated Press

SACRAMENTO – A California man who trolled women’s Facebook pages searching for clues that allowed him to take over their e-mail accounts was sentenced yesterday to more than four years in state prison after a judge rejected a plea for a lighter sentence and likened the man to a peeping Tom.

Once he took over women’s e-mail accounts, George Bronk searched their folders for nude or seminude photographs or videos sent to their husbands or boyfriends and distributed the images to their contact list, prosecutors said.

The e-mails went to families, friends, and co-workers. Women in 17 states, the District of Columbia, and England were victimized.

“This case serves as a stark example of what occurs in so-called cyberspace. It has very real consequences,’’ Sacramento County Superior Court Judge Lawrence Brown said. “The intrusion of one’s profile is no different than intruding one’s home.’’

Bronk, 23, pleaded guilty in January to charges that included computer intrusion, false impersonation, and possession of child pornography.

Brown sentenced him to four years in state prison for the charges related to the Facebook and e-mail offenses, and added eight more months for charges related to child pornography.

Bronk’s attorney, Monica Lynch, said her client took responsibility for his actions and showed remorse. She had sought a sentence of one year in local jail with probation afterward, or two years in state prison with no probation.

Bronk was living in the Sacramento suburb of Citrus Heights with his parents in December 2009 when he began scanning Facebook with the intent of taking over e-mail accounts. The practice continued until last September.

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