We use cookies to provide you with a better experience. If you continue to use this site, we'll assume you're happy with this. Alternatively, click here to find out how to manage these cookies

hide cookie message
80,259 News Articles

Man 'stole nude photos from women's email'

California man George Brank pleads guilty

A California man has pleaded guilty to charges that he broke into the email accounts of thousands of women, scouring them for nude photos that he then posted to the internet.

George Bronk, 23, was arrested in late October after police found evidence that he'd hacked into more than 3,200 email accounts. He used the same technique that Sarah Palin hacker David Kernell used to break into the former US vice-presidential candidate's Yahoo account: he scoured his victims' Facebook accounts for answers to the security questions used by web-based email services such as Gmail and Yahoo Mail.

Then, posing as his victim, he would claim to have forgotten the account's password and try to answer the security questions that would let him back in. Often, the security questions are easy to guess. The questions Bronk faced asked him things like: "What is your high-school mascot?" and "What is your father's middle name?"

George Bronk

George Bronk

Once in, he would change the account password - locking out his victim - and search for any racy photographs. If he found any, he posted them to the victim's Facebook profile.

Of the 3,200 accounts he broke into, Bronk found nude or semi-nude photos in 172 of them, prosecutors said.

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 six years in prison on felony hacking, child pornography and identity theft charges. He entered his plea yesterday in Sacramento Superior Court.

"This case highlights the fact that anyone with an email account is vulnerable to identity theft," California Attorney General Kamala Harris said in a statement.

See also:

Sarah Palin email hacker dodges prison

Alleged Miley Cyrus hacker arrested


IDG UK Sites

Best Black Friday 2014 tech deals: Get bargains on smartphones, tablets, laptops and more

IDG UK Sites

What the Internet of Things will look like in 2015: homes will get smarter, people might get fitter

IDG UK Sites

See how Trunk's animated ad helped Ade Edmondson plug The Car Buying Service

IDG UK Sites

Yosemite tips: Complete Guide to OS X Yosemite