Female hacker charged with stealing nude photos of Grady Sizemore

Filed Under: Law & order, Privacy, Social networks

Grady Sizemore
In 2009, naked photographs of American baseball star Grady Sizemore circulated on the internet after being stolen from the email account of his then girlfriend, Playboy Playmate Brittany Binger.

A total of 15 photos were circulated - some showing Sizemore posing in his bathroom mirror wearing a suit, but others that showed him nude or only partially clothed. In one of the pictures, still easily available on the web, the Cleveland Indians' star is using a coffee mug to protect his err.. modesty.

Clearly Sizemore intended these photographs, taken on his cellphone's camera, to only be shared with his model girlfriend - but lax computer security meant they were seen by a much larger audience.

According to media reports, a 19-year-old woman has now been arrested in connection with the offence

Leah M Ayers, of Apple Valley, California, has been charged with two counts of unauthorised computer access. According to the authorities, Brittany Binger's email account was accessed four times in August 2009 without authorisation.

Ayers is said to have accessed the model's Facebook, Twitter and MySpace accounts, and used personal information gathered there to help her guess the password to Binger's email account. According to court documents, police traced the IP address used in the hacking back to the home of the teenager's parents.

So, what can the rest of us who aren't baseball stars or Playboy Playmates learn from this?

Well, firstly, be careful what information you share on social networks - and who can view it. You might be sharing more information than is sensible.

Secondly, choose a sensible, unique, hard-to-crack password for your different accounts. Not sure how to select a password? Read my advice on the subject.

Thirdly, don't make your "secret questions" easy to answer. Those are the questions that some websites ask you in case you forget your password. For instance, "What's the name of your pet dog?" or "What's your mother's maiden name?" is something that many people could work out. As Sarah Palin and Paris Hilton have discovered to her cost.

Lastly, don't take nude photographs of yourself and email them to your lover in the hope that they'll stay private. That never ever works out how you'd hope..

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3 Responses to Female hacker charged with stealing nude photos of Grady Sizemore

  1. Tom · 1252 days ago

    You can also come up with "fake" answers to your personal questions and keep these fake answers to yourself, much as you would a password. For example, you can make your mother's maiden name "Susan B. Anthony" -- or perhaps you graduated from Harvard.

    If you do this, protect the answers as you would a password. Of course, don't forget them, either!

    This is another way to make it more difficult for unauthorized people to gain access to your accounts.

  2. alice · 1252 days ago

    That is probably my biggest problem with such security questions; I make up crap answers and then cannot remember what I answered, what I capitalized, and whether or not I used punctuation.

  3. Bob · 932 days ago

    I use software like PasswordSafe to keep a list of passwords per site in a highly encrypted password-protected file.

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About the author

Graham Cluley is an award-winning security blogger, and veteran of the anti-virus industry having worked for a number of security companies since the early 1990s. Now an independent security analyst, he regularly makes media appearances and gives computer security presentations. Send Graham an email, subscribe to his updates on Facebook, follow him on Twitter and App.net, and circle him on Google Plus for regular updates.