If you hack somebody’s Facebook and download their pictures you can get jail time of maximum 3 years. Is it worth it?

U.S. authorities have sentenced a New York-based citizen to three years in prison for his involvement in a fraudulent scheme that led to the hacking of multiple social media accounts. This individual was part of a group dedicated to hacking online profiles of young students in order to steal intimate photos and videos.

According to the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), Nicholas Faber, 25, acted with his accomplices to access students’ email accounts at the State University of New York (SUNY) to steal information useful for accessing accounts on Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and other social platforms.

Between 2017 and 2019, this group of cybercriminals managed to improperly access dozens of email accounts to extract explicit material, including photos, videos and compromising messages. Faber was arrested a few months ago and pleaded guilty in early 2021.

In some occasions, the defendant chose a victim and entrusted his accomplices with the commitment of their personal accounts, which would later be hacked using phishing tactics and social engineering. So far, prosecutors have identified at least 50 victims of this campaign.

One of the methods used by this group was to obtain an email address to initiate a password reset procedure, which allowed them to gain control of the affected accounts. Using this information the hackers snooped on the files of the victims and tried to access social media accounts and thus search for more compromising files. Another method of accessing victims’ Snapchat accounts included sending text messages with an alleged unauthorized login for the victims to send the attacker a login code.

About the purposes of the defendant and his accomplices, authorities believe that this group did this for their own amusement, going so far as to create posters with the stolen photos to be published in universities and other public spaces.

As part of his plea deal, Faber will have to pay $35,000 USD and hand over to authorities the computer equipment he used for these attacks. One of Faber’s accomplices also reportedly pleaded guilty to charges including aggravated identity theft, conspiracy to commit fraud and other unlawful practices.

To learn more about information security risks, malware variants, vulnerabilities and information technologies, feel free to access the International Institute of Cyber Security (IICS) websites.