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Man Mines Facebook For Security Questions, Nabs Nude Photos From Email 257

itwbennett writes "George Bronk, 23, has pleaded guilty to charges that he broke into the e-mail accounts of thousands of women, scouring them for nude photos that he then posted to the Internet. How he did it: He searched his victims' Facebook pages for answers to common security questions and then logged in to their e-mail accounts. In one case he persuaded a victim to send him even more explicit photographs by threatening to post the ones he'd stolen if she didn't. Bronk faces 6 years in prison on felony hacking, child pornography and identity theft charges."
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Man Mines Facebook For Security Questions, Nabs Nude Photos From Email

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  • All I can say is (Score:2, Insightful)

    by drinkypoo ( 153816 ) <> on Sunday January 16, 2011 @08:08AM (#34895968) Homepage Journal


    (ObDisclaimer: No, I don't want to receive child porn.)

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 16, 2011 @08:08AM (#34895970)

    Well, I sure hope all of the girls who took pictures of themselves got child pornography charges against them too.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 16, 2011 @08:18AM (#34895992)

    That's why my answer to those security questions is always 30-50 randomly selected characters.

    What's your mother's maiden name? - kashiqewnchkdhsflakjshflvkdsvhpexiojnasdjlna

  • by crow_t_robot ( 528562 ) on Sunday January 16, 2011 @08:54AM (#34896122)
    No, because producing child pornography and distributing it on the internet is producing child pornography and distributing it on the internet. If a 16 year old girl sends a picture of her tits to your phone you are now in possession of child pornography and in direct danger of having your life destroyed and everyone you know hating you.

    This is akin to weaponry. This shit needs to stop.
  • by CAIMLAS ( 41445 ) on Sunday January 16, 2011 @08:54AM (#34896130) Homepage

    You have very little imagination.

    Girls have boyfriends. They also have female friends. They are not solely keeping these pictures on their hard drives and cameras for personal use (more than likely).

    Funny thing about pictures on the Internet: they're trivially copied. Boyfriend copies the picture to his friends (or just one friend), or posts it to a forum: the picture is out, and will live forever on hundreds of 'porn agregators' (lacking a better term), presuming the girl isn't a skag. Likewise, girls are/can be catty: what's stopping them from spreading the nude pictures in a bitter attempt at becoming more popular themselves (thinking it would ridicule the origin)? We're talking about virally social teens, here, not top secret data on government networks: there's literally a thousand and one ways for such pictures to spread to the Internet At Large.

    So, in short: it's entirely possible that hundreds of thousands of men and women have viewed, downloaded, etc. child porn and not even be aware of the fact that it is child porn, simply on the basis of "some women look like children and some girls look like women". I recall a couple girls in high school who looked significantly older than 16-18 - and no, I'm not just talking about curves (though that applies too).

    It's just like "honest, I thought she was 18, officer!" scenario, except the evidence never disappears and the so-called 'victim' can never grant consent. I would not be surprised if there is legal child porn floating about the internet right now, on "valid" sites which the US federal law enforcement agencies knows about, but allow to exist -so that they can use it as an added charge for someone down the line, if they ned something to vilify them further/want to make sure the charges stick.

  • by francium de neobie ( 590783 ) on Sunday January 16, 2011 @08:55AM (#34896134)
    You can always put non-sensical answers to those security questions. Like, saying your birth place is an Intel 8088.
  • by Dunbal ( 464142 ) * on Sunday January 16, 2011 @09:06AM (#34896182)

    No I think OP was referring to the notion of a fair and balanced justice system that applied the law to everyone instead of the one we have now which consists of "lets throw everything we can dream up at the guy and see what sticks".

    After all, it wouldn't be the first time a teenage girl was accused of child pornography for taking pictures of herself and posting them online. Not that I agree with THAT one, either.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 16, 2011 @09:31AM (#34896292)

    Yes. Legalize child porn.

  • by Lalakis ( 308990 ) on Sunday January 16, 2011 @09:34AM (#34896308) Homepage

    I can't believe that no one blames the online services for requiring and using security questions as a security measure(!). This is such an insecure practice that I'm just baffled from the so much widespread use of it!
      Theoretically, security questions could be used as an ADDED security measure and be marginally effective at that, but in most times you can't know exactly how your answer will be used, so the sane response would be something like kashiqewnchkdhsflakjshflvkdsvhpexiojnasdjlna.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 16, 2011 @09:38AM (#34896332)

    Pictures of naked people should not be classified as porn simply because of the lack of clothes.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 16, 2011 @10:01AM (#34896440)

    16 year olds are not children. That is the most insane part of all of this. Naked pictures of 6 year olds on your phone, sure, those are children at least. A 16 year old is most definitely not a child though.

  • by PopeRatzo ( 965947 ) * on Sunday January 16, 2011 @10:06AM (#34896456) Journal

    It's more secure to just not use Facebook.

  • by Znork ( 31774 ) on Sunday January 16, 2011 @10:15AM (#34896504)

    The whole concept of 'security questions' is completely flawed

    The whole concept of answering such questions correctly is flawed. Once you're born in Hobbiton and your mothers maiden name is Goose they become quite a bit harder to guess. Such constructed 'alter egos' make the security questions much less dangerous while still maintaining some recovery capacity.

  • by Peeteriz ( 821290 ) on Sunday January 16, 2011 @10:58AM (#34896794)

    In that case, why not call it what it is, forget about the whole concept of security questions, and call it 'backup password', 'secondary password' or something like that?

  • by milkmage ( 795746 ) on Sunday January 16, 2011 @11:50AM (#34897114)

    same thing that makes you a responsible drinker at 21

  • by Schadrach ( 1042952 ) on Sunday January 16, 2011 @12:16PM (#34897258)

    Actually, legalize possession of child porn, and step up the penalties for production (or just for child abuse, since using a child to produce child pornography is itself abuse) and purchase/sale. That removes the "weaponry" portion of child porn (if I send you a CP picture, you have committed a crime is a *bad* thing) and makes those who receive such pictures accidentally (mislabeled P2P files, for example) or against their will (as in the sending a picture to your phone example) more willing to openly provide them to authorities as a way to help the producers get caught, as well as making being involved in the financial promotion of the production of child pornography still a crime.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 16, 2011 @02:36PM (#34898202)

    It's a US thing. Over there:
    - You're presumed innocent until proven guilty. Except for terrorism, in which case the rule is "If you were innocent, you wouldn't be a suspect".
    - Sexual assault is a horrendous crime. Except if the perpetrator is wearing a TSA uniform.
    - The Constitution stops the government from abusing it's authority and power. But only as long as the government agrees.
    - Infringing copyright on music steals copyright holders of thousands of dollars. Except for the music industry, they only steal 60 cents per song from artists.
    - Child Porn is illegal in order to protect victims of child abuse. Unless if children willingly make and send pictures of themselves, in this case they're not victims but vicious pedophiles. So vicious, they abuse themselves!
    - You're too young to drink beer at 21 but you're old enough to die for your country.

  • by JWSmythe ( 446288 ) <> on Sunday January 16, 2011 @03:41PM (#34898634) Homepage Journal

        Depending on the level of detailed dialogue you are describing, she may have been a victim of sexual abuse. They may have rationalized that the sexual abuse has positive results. For example, a bad adult does sexual acts, and then rewards the child. The child may associate the act with the result, and try to initiate the act with others for similar rewards.

        Most 10 year olds can't carry on an unsupported dialogue of sexual matters. For most (and yes, the average have has been growing younger), they simply have no interest. For others, they've had no exposure. Most (but not all) parents keep their children away from what they perceive as dangers for the childs development, which includes movie violence and sexuality. If the dialogue was beyond what you may see in a R or NC17 movie, you should consider that there is something pretty serious going on. Talk to a professional about it. Ask the simple questions, "This happened. Should I notify someone?" If you have school age children, a call to the schools child psychologist may be helpful, or your local child protective services. The child protective services call may start unwanted actions, but if there is something bad going on, they should definitely be involved.

        Most importantly, don't be involved. It's not up to you to investigate such things. Besides tainting evidence, being too involved can be bad for your health (i.e., the bad adult may seek to silence you). Leave investigations up to the experts. For the sake of your safety and mental health, it's better to give the anonymous tip, than to become a witness. If you get too involved, you may become a suspect, rather than just a witness.

  • Re:Reminds me... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by tragedy ( 27079 ) on Sunday January 16, 2011 @05:27PM (#34899330)

    Also, it would open up anyone fully consenting to massive repression by family. If they insist that it was consensual, in many cases, they'll receive counseling tantamount to brainwashing for years. There will be guilt trips and threats of excommunication from the family. She will be made to feel that, if she affirms her consent, she'll be releasing a monstrous sexual predator who will rape someone not so willing next time and she'll be to blame for that girls suffering, etc.

    I'm sure everyone here is familiar with the concept of "honor killings". It's not a phenomenon unique to Muslims as many people seem to think. It's a cross-cultural set of attitudes about the importance of a girls "virtue" and reputation and her obligation to her family and society in regards to it. In some places and among some people it's still taken to the extreme of murder for transgressions, but the exact same behavior, just to a lesser degree exists just about everywhere. I've met plenty of fathers of daughters of various ages in the US who are almost psychotically overprotective and who insist, in all seriousness, that their daughters have no sexual relations whatsoever and sometimes that they not date, etc. The behavior is always hypocritical with regards to their own behavior when they were younger and frequently their behavior as adults (with regards to enjoying pornography of young women, etc.). But they seem to view it as an obligation. Feeling protective of your child is, of course, not a shameful thing, but far too many tie such behavior to possessiveness and a form of objectification that denies their children their humanity.

    Society in general seems to at least subconsciously share these values. A young woman, whether above or below the various ages of consent/adulthood/etc. who expresses her sexuality in some way, especially publicly, has to be either a victim, or a slut. Generally there is no middle ground, and when there is, it's often given by people who think that she's both a victim _and_ a slut.

    So, an underage girl who chooses to have sex before her society says she's ready, whose older partner is arrested and who has a few years to decide whether to re-affirm consent or not, is going to have to spend that time under a lot of pressure. She will, essentially, have to decide whether to call herself a victim or a slut. Whether to be the dedicated family member protected from the outsider, or the prodigal child who shunned her families protection.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 16, 2011 @10:22PM (#34901290)

    What you said:

    Actually, legalize possession of child porn, and step up the penalties for production (or just for child abuse, since using a child to produce child pornography is itself abuse) and purchase/sale.

    What every politician and journalist in America would hear:

    ... legalize ... child abuse ...

    Sorry, but no penalty is going to be reduced. The only changes that are ever going to happen in the forseeable future will be increased penalties for whichever specific things are involved in the next few child abuse cases to hit the news. (Oh, you possessed child porn that was produced using a smartphone? That means you get an extra fifty years in jail, because clearly that's more of a deterrent than the 490 years you were already going to get.)

    We are no more able to have a rational and objective debate about child pornography than McCarthy was about communism, or the citizens of Salem about witchcraft. This is our generation's moral panic and it is not going to die until we do, so you'd better get used to it.

  • by Archangel Michael ( 180766 ) on Monday January 17, 2011 @03:13AM (#34902392) Journal

    For the sake of your safety and mental health, it's better to give the anonymous tip, than to become a witness. If you get too involved, you may become a suspect, rather than just a witness.

    This is why our society is going to hell in a handbasket. Chickenshit pussies afraid of the boogie man of bad people might do something bad.

    If you're a real man, stand up and be counted. Real men will protect the innocent and defenseless with everything they have, including their life. I know I would.

    I have no room for child predators (real ones), nor pussies that hide behind self preservation at the expense of taking one off the streets.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 17, 2011 @01:28PM (#34906038)

    Of course, sometimes things can be misinterpreted.

    So, you risked destroying somebody's life because you are all-too-willing to see evil in a person and opened your fat mouth? I don't think you appreciate the gravity of even being Accused of something like that. You are tried in the court of public opinion, and there is never a Not Guilty verdict, thanks to paranoid assholes like yourself. 'But, think of the children!' you say, as though it justifies your intrusion into privacy and flirting with disaster.

    What if the little girl had been told it was an absolute secret and Daddy will get in trouble if she tells? What if she had never told? How many YEARS would it have taken out of peoples' lives to work out that nothing had happened, nothing was going on. All because you 'misinterpreted' something a child said, laughably, because under normal circumstances nobody takes a single thing a child says seriously because gosh, they are children.

    Show a little decorum when treading on peoples' lives, man.

Doubt isn't the opposite of faith; it is an element of faith. - Paul Tillich, German theologian and historian