A 23 year old California man admitted he used personal information from Facebook to hack into women’s email accounts to download nude and seminude photos and videos sent from those accounts. He would then forward these to all of the women’s contacts.
Dozens of women in the US and England were victims of George Bronk, according to the California attorney general’s office. He tricked one woman into sending him more explicit photographs by threatening to distribute the pictures he already had. One victim said she felt the intrusion was like ‘virtual rape’.
Bronk has pleaded guilty to seven felonies in state Superior Court, including computer intrusion, false impersonation and possession of child pornography. Prosecutors are seeking a six year prison term when he returns for sentencing on March 10th.
His attorney Monica Lynch said “he is a 23 year old boy going on 15, He has accepted full responsibility. Its a tragic situation.”
So how did he do it? Apparently he would scan women’s Facebook accounts looking for those who would post their email addresses. He would then study their Facebook postings to learn the answers to common security questions, such as their favourite colour. He would then contact the women’s email providers and used the information gained to take control of their accounts. He would get control of their Facebook accounts by hijacking their passwords, then would post nude photos on their Facebook pages and other internet sites.
When the authorities searched Bronks computer they found 172 emails containing explicit photos of women and they could then track these women to 17 states. The women are holding Facebook partially responsible for not catching onto his activities sooner.