Chairperson – Divey Foundation
Cyber Security Specialist
INTERNET NEVER FORGETS…ITS ALWAYS ON
We live in a digital era, which understands that our private information is more vulnerable than ever before
When you are watching a movie, sometimes it feels like what you are watching is more than a movie. It feels like an ugly reflection of our society, our mindset, our greed and sometimes our loneliness. I came across a shocking revelation when according to one movie which I watched on Netflix last night, posting sexual photographs of people online without their consent isn’t explicitly illegal in most states, unless those images are copyrighted. Quite shocking isn’t it? And, as per the subject of that feature, when I switched on my laptop and searched for Hunter Moore on Google, this is what I came across…“Hunter Moore is a convicted criminal from Sacramento, California. Rolling Stone called him ‘the most hated man on the Internet’.” In 2010, he created the revenge porn website “Is Anyone Up?”, which allowed users to post sexual and explicit photos of people online without their consent, often accompanied by personal information such as their names and addresses. He refused to take down the pictures on request.
Moore called himself “a professional life ruiner” and compared himself to Charles Manson. The website was live for 16 months, during which Moore stated several times he was protected by the same laws that protect Facebook. Moore also paid a hacker to break into the email accounts of victims and steal their private photos to post online. The FBI started an investigation on Moore in 2012 after receiving evidence from the mother of one of the victims. The site was closed in April 2012 and sold off to an anti-bullying group. In February 2015, Moore pleaded guilty to felony charges for aggravated identity theft and aiding and abetting in the unauthorized access of a computer. In November 2015, Moore was sentenced to two years and six months in prison, a $2,000 fine, and $145.70 in restitution. He was released from prison in May 2017.
In 2022, Netflix released “The Most Hated Man on the Internet”, a documentary based on the atrocities of Hunter Moore. Although Moore initially agreed to take part in the series, he later declined. The series reached third spot on the Netflix Top 10 as written in Wikipedia:
As stated by Charlotte Laws, the mother of one of the victims, within a week I had spoken to dozens of victims from around the country, and my findings were astonishing. A full 40 percent of the victims had been hacked only days before their photos were loaded onto “Is Anyone Up?”.
In most cases, the scam began with Facebook and ended up when “Gary Jones” gained access to the victim’s email account. Another 12 percent of my sample group claimed their names and faces were morphed or posted next to nude bodies that were not theirs; and 36 percent believed they were revenge porn victims in the traditional “angry ex-boyfriend sense” (although some of these folks were on good terms with their exes and thought the exes might have been hacked).
Lastly, 12 percent of my sample group were “self-submits.” The “self-submits,” of course, are not victims at all, rather they are individuals who willingly sent their images to Moore. In the end, it was disturbing to realize that over half of the folks from my informal study were either criminally hacked or posted next to body parts that were not theirs.
But the question is, is it really so easy to hack a Gmail account? See for yourself: Go to the Gmail login screen and click on the frequently ignored link underneath the sign-in menu, “Can’t access your account?”
Three options appear:
Choose “I forgot my password.” Type in a Gmail address—any active Gmail address
A phone number associated with the account, you’re given three more options,
One of which is “Get a verification code on my phone.”
You don’t even need to know the phone number. Just hit “continue” and an unrelated six-digit code will appear in a text to the account owner’s phone. Type in that verification code a number easily obtained by a masquerading e-impostor and you’re in. The first thing you’re prompted to do is immediately change your password, thereby blocking out the original owner.
In other words, if a hacker knows only your Gmail address and can figure out how to access your phone, he is already most of the way in to your DARK WORLD.
Over Facebook chat, a panicked friend typed that she’d lost her phone and asked Tanya for help. Tanya reflexively sent her e-mail address and phone number, and almost immediately she got an alert that the password on her Yahoo account has been changed. She was confused momentarily. When she finally fought back into her account, her profile information was already replaced with the e-mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org.
That was January 7, 2012. “Two days later around midnight, I got weird messages from people, and I ignored them,” Tanya recalls over the phone. “When I woke up the next morning, I had over 30 phone calls from people and over 400 friend requests from Facebook, and I had no idea what was going on.” She’d been posted to “Is Anyone Up?”, with her name, hometown, face and someone else’s nude body. Tanya had a shock of recognition. The photos of her breasts were actually those of her friend, pictures Tanya had taken during an exercising spell to help visually track her progress. “When I actually looked at my e-mail, I didn’t even remember having those.”
Tanya is not the sort of person who takes nudes. She is extremely modest and this was one of the most emotionally damaging scenarios she could imagine. “I didn’t even leave my house for a week.” When she finally gathered the courage to do an errand, something awful happened. “I went to Taco Bell, and someone came up to me and was like, ‘Oh, I’ve seen you naked.”
Tanya took no solace in the fact that the site’s characteristically crude comments were flattering. (“Does this girl have any flaws?” was a stark contrast to the usual “Jesus, someone call Greenpeace and get her back in the water.”) The fact that it wasn’t her body didn’t make it better; in some ways, the misunderstanding made the situation feel worse. She tried to get the photos down by e-mailing the site to no avail. Eventually, she started talking with other women who had been posted and discovered she wasn’t the only one. “Everyone I talked with, we were all hacked by Gary Jones.”
“Crime happens only when there is personal selfishness and greed. Trust is something integral to our lives. Could you imagine a life where you could not trust anyone? It would be mentally and physically exhausting, but nowadays information is the only defense, you should think twice before clicking the submit button.”
We live in a digital era, which understands that our private information is more vulnerable than ever before.
We live in a world that is networked together, from internet banking to government infrastructure, where data is stored on computers and other devices. A portion of that data can be sensitive information, whether that be intellectual property, financial data, personal information, or other types of data for which unauthorized access or exposure could have negative consequences.
“Threat is a mirror of security gaps. Cyber-threat is mainly a reflection of our weaknesses. An accurate vision of digital and behavioral gaps is crucial for a consistent cyber-resilience.” ― Stephane Nappo