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posted by cmn32480 on Friday December 11 2015, @01:49PM   Printer-friendly
from the missed-that-in-the-background-check dept.

Between January 2013 and May 2015, one employee at the U.S. embassy in London hacked into over 400 online accounts belonging to at least 200 victims and forwarded at least 1,300 messages to himself:

Michael Ford, who worked in the American embassy in London, pleaded guilty to nine charges of cyber-stalking, seven of computer hacking to extort and one of wire fraud. He preyed on sorority members at US universities and aspiring models. Ford used the details he learned after hacking the women to find new victims.

The 36-year-old, from Atlanta, in the American state of Georgia, posed as technical support staff from a well-known email company and sent phishing messages to thousands of potential victims. Pretending to be a member of the non-existent account-deletion team, he told them their accounts would be closed unless they sent him their passwords. He then accessed their email and social media accounts in search of explicit photos and other personal information, such as home and work addresses, employment information and details about family members.

He used that information to demand additional sexually explicit material, such as videos of the women undressing in changing rooms at pools and shops. If they refused, Ford would respond with escalating threats that included messages such as: "Don't worry, it's not like I know where you live." He also posted explicit photos of the women online or sent them to friends and family.


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  • (Score: 2) by PizzaRollPlinkett on Friday December 11 2015, @04:53PM

    by PizzaRollPlinkett (4512) on Friday December 11 2015, @04:53PM (#275022)

    Okay, so the moral of this story involves aspiring models, but I can't quite figure out what it is.

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    (E-mail me if you want a pizza roll!)
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  • (Score: 3, Informative) by Joe Desertrat on Friday December 11 2015, @06:33PM

    by Joe Desertrat (2454) Subscriber Badge on Friday December 11 2015, @06:33PM (#275084)

    Okay, so the moral of this story involves...

    I don't want to blame victims and diminish the fact the guy was a creep, but really, how many incidents like this does it take to make people realize you do not put anything online you are unwilling to share with the world? There will always be the risk that sooner or later, in one way or another, no matter how careful you think you are, that information will get to people you do not want to have it.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 11 2015, @09:20PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 11 2015, @09:20PM (#275155)

      Distance relationships are hard to manage and having some sort of "sexual activity" from far away can help maintain intimacy. If you are in the same situation and are willing to miss out on that part of relationships because of the fear of some asshole doing something illegal, then that is your decision. I don't take that risk, but I appreciate it when women I'm involved with are willing to.

      • (Score: 2) by Joe Desertrat on Sunday December 13 2015, @03:21AM

        by Joe Desertrat (2454) Subscriber Badge on Sunday December 13 2015, @03:21AM (#275659)

        Distance relationships are hard to manage and having some sort of "sexual activity" from far away can help maintain intimacy.

        If you are going to use e-mail for something like that get an e-mail client like Thunderbird and download it to your computer, then make sure to clear the sent (or better, don't save it) and the trash on the e-mail site. It is really not that difficult to be safer about things.