Man Steals Photographs from Girls via Facebook Scam

28 April 2011

An American man (residing in Minnesota) has been accused of hacking into other people’s Facebook and email accounts, stealing “compromising” photographs of women, which were then posted up onto adult websites.

In a case that highlights the importance of safety on Facebook and strong passwords, as it was reported on Yahoo and various media that Timothy Peter Noirjean conned young women into providing him with personal information, which allowed him to hack into their personal Facebook and email accounts. Noirjean is believed to have then pretended to be the owner and made contact with her friends and attempt to hack into further accounts.

The report reports that an 18-year-old woman contacted police after she discovered her password had been compromised, after she had been chatting with Noirjean thinking it was a friend. Her password has been reset and photographs from her email account had also been posted online. One of the Facebook victims informed police she had added “Steve Mills” who had informed her that a “compromising” photograph taken from her and was posted on his website. He then informed her that he would only take down the posted photo, if she sent him a naked photograph. She refused.

Noirjean has exploited “the trust” that many people have on social networking sites like Facebook. For example, people seem to be willing to accept friend requests without knowing anything about the person. Fake Facebook accounts often feature attractive pics of to “entice” people into accepting requests, which isn’t the actual person who is sitting behind the screen.

This also highlights the severe problem of people selecting “easy to remember” passwords for themselves, which – as proven by this case – even someone without hacking experience/software could easily crack. Strong passwords are the key to online security and should feature over 12 characters, include non-alphabetic symbols and characters, ideally in the form of a mnemonic phrase.

It should also highlight the consequences of online security, due to the complexities of the legal system, as while Noirjean has been charged, the police have no power to enable them to get the photographs taken down.

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