Police issue warning after arrest in social media compromise

Detectives from the Financial and Cyber Crime Group, State Crime Command have today charged a 31 year-old Geebung man with six computer hacking and two extortion offences following a seven-month investigation.

Detectives conducted an investigation after receiving reports from victims, including three in Queensland, that the man was in possession of their unauthorised personal images. It will be alleged the man accessed their images through their social media accounts. An examination of a number of seized electronic devices identified there are over 350 potential victims nationwide who have had their personal images compromised. It will further be alleged the images relate to young adult females with an active social media presence.

Police will allege the man approached victims online using a compromised known friend’s account on a social media messenger platform whilst pretending to be the friend and seeking assistance to restore and recover the friend’s lost account. It will be alleged once given access the man initiated a password reset on the victim’s account, requesting the verification code from the victim. The victim provided the code unaware they were enabling a password reset on their own account allowing the offender to access and gain control of the victim’s account.

It will be alleged the man then attempted to access other online accounts of the victims including email and social media in search of photographs, often of an intimate nature, and threatened to share the images unless the victim met his demands for more intimate images and videos.

“This behaviour is a serious crime and as this investigation shows, one police take very seriously.

“Investigators are continuing to identify and contact victims in relation to this matter and would like to speak with anyone who feels they may have fallen victim to this criminal activity or may have information that could assist our enquiries.

“We ask the community to remain resilient to this type of offending. Ensure your privacy and security controls such as passwords are effective. Always be wary of online communications and maintain control of access to your devices and accounts. Ask yourself if you are in control of your personal information, be wary of any unsolicited messages or emails of this nature, speak to your friend to confirm the message is in fact from them”, Detective Superintendent Terry Lawrence of the Financial and Cyber Crime Group said.

If you have information for police, contact Policelink on 131 444 or provide information using the online form 24hrs per day.

You can report information about crime anonymously to Crime Stoppers, a registered charity and community volunteer organisation, by calling 1800 333 000 or via crimestoppersqld.com.au 24hrs per day.

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