Man used Facebook to hack women's emails & spread objectionable Pictures

For most of us, the word “account hacking”, be it bank account, credit card, email, or Facebook account; brings to our minds a picture of some highly accomplished computer user, who creates some malicious software to hack people’s online accounts, even when he is sound sleep.

Although, no one can dispute the presence of such brainy but having a malicious brain kind of guys who are always busy churning out very able pieces of malicious codes; still when it comes to hacking or breaking in of individual “online accounts” then rather than some technology, it’s the simple human brain that is at work; and that too with some clear objective.

This is once again pointed to, by a hacking incident involving some women, who found there nude pics proliferated all over the web after the break in (the Californian man who was behind the incident, has already admitted to hacking the said women’s email accounts and spreading the women’s indecent pics online).

The method, very human, used by the Californian man to hack the women’s email accounts:

1) First he searched Facebook accounts of those women users, who had posted their e-mail addresses.

2) He would then study their Facebook postings (updates, comments, photographs) to learn the answers to common email security questions like their favorite color or father's middle name, their mothers’ maiden name, their first pet etc.

3) Then he returns to the email service, and then tries to login with the woman’s email address, putting in any word in the password box; when shown ‘Forgot your password link’ he would start the procedure to change the password. There, using personal information he gleaned from Facebook to hack into women's e-mail accounts, then send nude pictures of them to everyone in their address book.

It’s now clear that the 23-year old Californian man, George Bronk, who hacked the e-mail accounts of dozens of women in the U.S. and England; looked into the women's "sent" folders for nude and semi-nude photos and videos, and forwarded any pictures he found to all their contacts; was more of a miscreant than anything; with a clear objective of bringing disrepute to the said women.

So rather than being a tech wizard, Bronk who knew human behavior and psychology better than others; succeeded in his ways as he was fueled by a definite objective.

Notably, US politician Sarah Palin’s email account was hacked in a similar manner in 2008. The said hacker, just like the Californian man, just used his common sense and time to break in Ms Palin’s email account.

What does the incident convey to Social network users:

Although technology will be used by some to get unauthorized access to people’s online data; majority of the people with evil designs are using human ways to achieve their objectives (for obvious reasons like not everyone can create a malicious code, or have big money; but a large number of people have free time). Another reason which takes high technology out of hacking picture is the fact that all online service providers, be it email services or banking services, keep updating them to protect their users from such high tech attacks.

So there will always be countless people, who will be trying to hack an email or a bank account by knowing general tidbits about a person, which they think, the said person can use as a safety wall for their online data.

To conclude, let I share with you a real incident, which will act as a summary to this very important write-up. A rich man in US, used to visit a elite pub on a daily basis. As the pub was a home to millionaires; flashy but good for nothing guys also visited it (those living on credit, and who need money all the time). One such guy observed this rich man for a few days and then after reading his behavior well; reached him and tried to get close to him. A fast reader of human psychology, this guy, started discussing things the rich man liked everyday. Within a couple of weeks, the two are best of pals. Three months later, the rich man found a couple of thousands withdrawn from his account; he also noticed that his buddy was not visiting the pub from the past one week. Yes, the guy was busy, living on his rich friend’s money.

What the guy, did was, while increasing his friendship with the rich man, he knew small tidbits about the man, the same ones used as security questions. He called the man’s bank, told then that he has misplaced his credit card; when drilled with security questions, answered them satisfactorily; when asked by bank where to dispatch the duplicate card (the flashy guy gave a new address, his own). And got the rich man’s card at his door step.

A rich man won’t had bothered by the flying of couple of thousand dollars. But what about mortals like us.

What is advised: Keep Social and personal lives separate. If choose not to do so; then don’t use personal info as security barriers to your online properties. --------

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