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..