Two Men Who Breached Photobucket.com Indicted and Arrested on Conspiracy and Fraud-Related Charges
Two men have been arrested after breaching the computer services of Colorado based Photobucket, a company that operates an image and video hosting website, announced U.S. Attorney John Walsh for the District of Colorado and Special Agent in Charge Thomas Ravenelle for the Denver Division of the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI). Brandon Bourret, 39, of Colorado Springs, Colorado and Athanasios Andrianakis, 26, of Sunnyvale, California, were arrested today without incident at their homes. Both made initial appearances today, where they were advised of their rights and the charges pending against them.
According to the indictment, beginning on July 12, 2012 and continuing through July 1, 2014, Bourret and Andrianakis knowingly conspired to commit acts and offenses against the United States, namely computer fraud and abuse, access device fraud, identification document fraud and wire fraud. The indictment further alleges that there was interdependence among the members of the conspiracy.
The purpose of the conspiracy was for the conspirators to enrich themselves by selling passwords and unauthorized access to private and password protected information, images and videos on the Internet and by selling private and password protected information, images and videos that the conspirators obtained from the Internet.
The conspirators developed, marketed and sold a software application called Photofucket, which allowed viewers to circumvent the privacy settings of the image and video hosting website at Photobucket.com and to access and copy users private and password protected information, images and videos without authorization. The conspirators used Photofucket to obtain guest passwords to access users’ password protected albums. They also transferred, or caused to be transferred, guest passwords to others who paid to use the Photofucket application.
“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 protected privacy on the Internet,” said U.S. Attorney Walsh. “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 Special Agent in Charge Ravenelle. “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.”
The investigation regarding the breach and who’s albums were accessed is ongoing. For those who want to follow the status of this case, visit http://www.justice.gov/largecases—and then select “Photobucket.” In addition, the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the FBI commend Photobucket for their cooperation from the inception of the investigation—and thanked them for their continued assistance as both the investigation and prosecution moves forward.
Bourret and Andrianakis both face one count of conspiracy, which carries a penalty of not more than five years in federal prison and up to a $250,000 fine. They each face one count of computer fraud, aid and abet, which also carries a penalty of not more than five years in federal prison and up to a $250,000 fine. Finally, they each face two counts of access device fraud, which carries a penalty of not more than ten years in federal prison, and up to a $250,000 fine, per count.
This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney David Tonini.
The charges contained in the indictment are allegations and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.