Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Why Women Really Need To Be Careful On Facebook

Here's what a Facebook Stalker looks like. (HT True Crime Report)

This one goes under the public service file. Women need to be a liitle more careful with what they do on Facebook. From The Examiner:

"People who wonder if perhaps some people give out too much information via social networking sites such as Facebook can look to this story and see the answer is at least sometimes "yes." George Samuel Bronk, 23, used profile information from Facebook to hack into women's e-mail accounts, steal nude images of them, and even blackmail them. Bronk pleaded guilty late last week, to seven felony charges.

Bronk used an obvious, but clever method to hack into the women's accounts: since Webmail accounts have password recovery schemes that could be bypassed using information from Facebook profiles, such as favorite foods, high-school mascots, favorite colors, and so on, once he obtained that information, he would try to hack into an account. If he did, he would then change the password, locking out the original user, and that was just the beginning.

Bronk would then scan each women's "Sent Message" folder, looking for any nude pictures or videos. If he found any, sometimes he'd pictures to the women's entire contact list, just for fun. On other times, he'd blackmail the woman directly, telling them he'd publish the pictures unless he received more nude pictures from them. One victim called it "virtual rape." He would sometimes even double-dip, emailing Facebook using the stolen account to get the password, then using that account for mischief.

It gets better. From True Crime Report:

"He told one woman that he did it because he thought it was funny. In a chat session with another, he threatened that unless she sent him more naked photos, he would spread the ones he already had over a wider selection of sites. The woman actually complied.

His scam would last for nearly a year, targeting women in 17 states and England. But in September, a woman in Connecticut complained to the state police. And they were able to trace Bronk in California.

When police raided his home, they found that his computer contained 170 files of naked photos. One even included an unnamed movie actress. California detectives used the info on his computer to send out 3,200 questionnaires to women who they thought may have been targeted. Yet this isn't the kind of case where ladies willingly come forward. By the end, they were only able to identify 47 victims.

That was still plenty enough to charge Bronk with seven felonies, including computer intrusion, false impersonation and possession of child pornography. Last week, he pleaded guilty. When he's sentenced in March, he faces up to six years in the slam and will have to register as a sex offender. "

Voyeurs are everywhere. Michael Santo sums it up nicely:

"This is obviously a cautionary tale. While it's probably not going to stop women from sending nude photos to their beaus (which might be a good idea), many Webmail sites allow custom password recover questions. If a user created their own custom question, one which they don't post to their Facebook profile, they wouldn't see this problem happen.

It's also possible to use standard questions if you either don't post the answer to a social networking site, or muck with the answer with a faux response. At any rate, it's just another example of why you shouldn't share "everything" on the Internet."

Ladies, don't set yourself up to be blackmailed and humiliated.

Background Intel:

Examiner.com: Facebook profile info used to hack into women's email accounts, get nude images
True Crime Report: George Bronk Hacked 170 Women's Email Accounts, Sent Their Nude Photos to Their Friends

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