With Facebook info, hacker spreads victims' nude shots

Man pleads guilty to using Facebook to get personal info and hack into women's e-mail accounts to get hold of nude photos, which he then sent out to victims' contacts list.

Chris Matyszczyk
2 min read

Remember this: Your mother's maiden name is Michael Jackson. The street on which you grew up is G574Pork.

This is the sort of logic you need to create more secure answers to the security questions on your online accounts.

I mention this because of the story of 23-year-old George Bronk. Bronk took it upon himself to see how he could use the information people put up on Facebook to get past the security questions on their e-mail accounts.

He was, depending on your definition of success, remarkably successful.

According to the Associated Press, Bronk, from Sacramento, Calif., pleaded guilty to dozens of instances of hacking into women's e-mail accounts, using personal information obtained on Facebook; then stealing nude photos of them (that had been e-mailed to, say, their husbands) and sending these photos to everyone in their contacts book.

It is not officially recorded why he decided to do this. However, one of his victims, 22-year-old Danielle Piscak of Parkland, Wash., told the AP that in a subsequent e-mail exchange with Bronk, he offered, surprisingly, that he thought it was funny.

CC Jay Cameron/Flickr

Given that he had distributed nude pictures of Piscak to her 1,500 Facebook friends, one can imagine the depth of laughter that might have ensued.

Bronk reportedly wasn't satisfied with hacking e-mail accounts. In certain instances, he managed to get hold of passwords to Facebook accounts and posted the illegally obtained pictures there.

Once investigators caught on to his amusement, they discovered 172 e-mail files with all sorts of photographs, belonging to women in 17 U.S. states, as well as in England.

One woman who spoke to the AP also claimed he wrote "crass, racist, disgusting comments on people's walls that I was friends with."

Perhaps, on this long weekend, it would be wise to revisit passwords and security questions that you might have set in the heady and innocent days of the Internet playground.

Someone out there might find amusement in sending your more personal images to a more public audience. Which would not be good for your career, your home life, or even your ego.

Of course, you could also remove your personal information from Facebook. But who does that?