The Photobucket hackers who developed software to compromise private photographs on the photo-sharing service have been indicted on fraud and conspiracy charges.
Photobucket is a photo sharing service that doesn’t always come directly to mind anymore. While it’s a photo sharing service that has remained in the shadows of the recent tech world, the FBI has indicted the individuals who developed software to circumvent security measures Photobucket employed. Brandon Bourret and Athanasios Andrianakis of Colorado and California respectively were arrested for giving users the ability to access photos of other users, which were password protected.
It’s alleged that between July 12th, 2012 and July 1st, 2014 the pair sold the account passwords and other personal information that they had collected, and ultimately spurred this legal action. They both face multiple charges that carry sentences of 5-10 years individually, so the final sentence, should they be convicted, could be significant. Assistant U.S. Attorney David Tonini will be the individual prosecuting the case, and at this point, it looks like he will be pushing for the maximum results in court.
U.S. Attorney John Walsh said pointed out that, “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.” He went on to point out, “The U.S. Attorney’s Office is keenly focused on prosecuting those people for their theft — and for the wanton harm they do to innocent Internet users.”
Special Agent in Charge Thomas Ravenelle of the FBI Denver Division said of the case to this point, “Unauthorized access into a secure computer system is a serious federal crime. The arrest of Brandon Bourret and his co-conspirator reflects the FBI’s commitment to investigate those who undertake activities such as this with the intent to harm a company and its customers.”
While some have challenged the case and poked holes in some of the execution to this point, it really goes without saying that security online is something that all Americans are taking more seriously now, as data breaches become more, and more commonplace. It’s this problem that ultimately makes cases like this become focal points for a growing issue that has snowballed a great deal over the last decade.
At this point, many people wonder where their information is safe online, and those are questions that no one really has a good answer for. It remains to be seen how this case plays out in court, but the fraud charges and conspiracy charges are legitimate in terms of what they’ve allegedly done.