Two men were arrested on April 8 in the charge of conspiracy and fraud after breaching computer services of Colorado-based Photobucket, a company that runs an image and video hosting website, according to a statement by U.S Department of Justice (DoJ).
Brandon Bourret (39), from Colorado Springs, and Athanasios Andrianakis (26), from Sunnyvale, California, were arrested at their homes for hacking the system and sold passwords and access to private information on a photo-sharing website.
U.S. Attorney John Walsh for the District of Colorado (DoC) and Thomas Ravenelle, special agent in-charge for the Denver Division of the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) announced that the two persons developed and sold a software application that allowed users to get through the privacy settings on Photobucket, which has more than 100 million registered users.
According to the statement, application users could secretly access and copy password-protected information and images without any permission from Photobucket's users.
“It is not safe to hide behind your computer, breach corporate servers and line your own pockets by victimizing those who have a right to protect privacy on the internet,” said U.S. Attorney Walsh in the statement. The U.S. Attorney’s Office is keenly focused on prosecuting those people for their theft -- and for the wanton harm they do to innocent internet users.”
“Unauthorized access into a secure computer system is a serious federal crime,” said Ravenelle in the statement. The arrest of Brandon Bourret and his co-conspirator reflects the FBI’s commitment to investigate those who undertake activities such as this with the intent to harm a company and its customers.”
According to the statement, Bourret and Andrianakis both face one count of conspiracy, which carries a penalty of up to five years in federal prison and a fine of up to $250,000. They also face one count of computer fraud, which carries the same maximum penalty and less than five years in federal prison.
Similarly, they face two counts of access device fraud, which carries a fine of up to $250,000 and not more than ten years in federal prison, per count.
In addition, the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the FBI appreciated Photobucket for its cooperation from the inception of the investigation and thanked for its continued assistance as both the investigation and prosecution moves forward.
This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney David Tonini.