Hacker Invaded Hundreds of Peoples' Identities

By Matt Baume
|  Friday, Jan 14, 2011  |  Updated 1:15 PM PDT
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Hacker Invaded Hundreds of Peoples' Identities

Attorney General Kamala Harris took steps to warn Californians about identity theft after it was revealed that an online predator invaded hundreds of women's accounts.

George Bronk, a 23-year-old resident of Citrus Heights, gathered intelligence on his victims and was able to correctly guess their password hints.

Many of those hints were easy to ascertain, such as "what was your high school mascot" and "what is your favorite color?"

Once he was in, Bronk locked out the victims and began sending porn to their contacts. One victim contacted the police, who began a sting operation. In September, law enforcement officers raided his home and confiscated his computer equipment.

Bronk had amassed a large collection of accounts, and officers sent out thousands of questionnaires to potential victims. A few dozen responded.

Because he had stolen illicit photographs from users under 18, he'll be tried on possession of child pornography, and will have to register as a sex offender.

Harris' office recommends that users protect themselves by adding special characters to password hints, or to choose something complex. For example, spell your favorite color as "0r4ng3" or "red-plus-yellow."

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