Earlier on Friday, the two Photobucket Hacking app creators were arrested and charged with conspiracy in the famous photo hosting site security breach case.
Both men are now facing a multitude of federal felony charges, from computer fraud to conspiracy to wire after attempting to hack into photographs posted in private folders of the famous site Photobucket.com.
Back when the situation began, Reddit was buzzing with internet users searching for such private photos. In fact, there were special Reddit channels dedicated to detailing how a Photobucket security flaw allowed private folder pictures to be found.
Brandon Bourret, 39, and his accomplice Athanasios Andrianakis, 26, succeeded in selling the application that offered unhindered access to Photobucket user information, private images and videos.
After a FBI organized action on Friday, the two men were apprehended at their homes in Colorado Springs respectively Sunnyvale. According to a statement by the US Department of Justice, the two were arrested for computer fraud conspiracy, computer abuse, ID fraud, access device fraud, selling illegal access to password protected information and wire fraud.
“It is not safe to hide behind your computer, breach corporate servers and line your own pockets by victimizing those who have a right to protected privacy on the Internet,” the statement made by District of Colorado Attorney John Walsh said.
The two men created the hacking app back in 2012 and named it “Photofucket”. Basically, if an internet user was able to guess the direct URL of a private photo, he could view the picture regardless of its security settings.
It was only later that Photobucket engineers added the option of automatically scrambling the links to the pictures posted from new accounts. Old accounts, however, had no idea that they had to manually scramble the picture’s link as making the folder private only hid the folder, not the pictures contained within.
The longest potential penalty that Bourret and Andrianakis currently face is access device fraud with a $250,000 fine and up to 10 years in federal prison.
Prosecutors have already managed to gather a body of evidence against the two app creators, including emails (in which they detail the hacking activities), PayPal transfers funding their actions and customer service messages sent to the hacking app users.
US Attorney John Walsh also added that the Attorney’s office is adamant on prosecuting any and all offenders who make themselves guilty of theft and harm to innocent Internet users. It also enjoys the full cooperation of Photobucket and the FBI’s support, which is committed to apprehending those involved in such criminal activities.
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