Online Identity Theft: Interview with Brad Costanzo

After launching multiple successful companies, Brad Costanzo has earned his reputation as an expert in business. Unfortunately, someone else recently tried to steal this credibility by impersonating Costanzo for a fake crowdfunding site.

Join us Thursday at 2pm PST for our interview on Costanzo’s podcast Bacon Wrapped Business to discuss how his identity was compromised to perpetuate an investment scam.

Update: You can watch our live stream of the interview here:

Facebook Fights Revenge Porn: Protecting Yourself Online

Facebook uses it’s platform to combat nonconsensual pornography.

Revenge porn, or nonconsensual pornography, is defined by the Cyber Civil Rights Initiative as “the distribution of sexually graphic images of individuals without their consent.”

Facebook is taking steps to fight this devastating issue. In April 2017 they released tools that utilize trained moderators to review intimate images that have been reported for appearing to be posted without the subject’s permission. If the moderator determines there is ground to remove the image, Facebook is able to use “photo-matching technologies” to prevent that picture from being shared anywhere else on their platforms, including Messenger and Instagram.

Recently, Facebook expanded on these reporting tools by testing a new program, starting in Australia. Their new program will allow users to be proactive in preventing their intimate images from being posted without their permission. If someone suspects there’s a risk that nonconsensual pornography will be distributed of them on Facebook’s platforms, they can record these concerns and the photo-matching technologies can prevent the pictures from being shared in the first place.

This is a great step forward in combatting revenge porn, but it is important to understand where you still may be exposed to risk and why it is vital to invest in online image protection.

These programs only apply to content shared on Facebook’s platforms. The internet has countless outlets that exist solely to distribute revenge porn, and infinitely more that provide a unintentional platform for this activity. Make sure that you are protected by software that will search all across the web for misuse of your images and remove them no matter where they are hiding.

This WILL NOT cover your images if they are posted anywhere outside of Facebook or it’s properties, and for the short term outside of Australia. We need a bigger concentrated effort to make a difference, as it is not common for someone to post revenge porn on Facebook.

Discovery and reporting is still effectively the victim’s responsibility. Unfortunately, as progressive as this new program is, it still places the responsibility of finding and challenging the damaging images on the victim. If you are unaware that someone has access to intimate images of you or that they would have motivation to post them, these pictures could circulate unchecked, undermining your reputation and your relationships.

Facebook has taken an important first step to protecting you on their platforms. Are you doing everything possible to protect yourself online by investing in online image protection? FaceChex offers protection plans for all budgets that will protect your online content from unauthorized use. Sign up today!

Watch some of our interviews on revenge porn and it’s affect on social media and peoples lives. Find more videos like the below on our YoutubeChannel

Charlotte Laws: “Revenge porn is a sex crime”

Revenge porn is a recognizable, but commonly misleading, term used to describe sexually-explicit photos that are distributed without the subject’s consent. Nonconsensual pornography (NCP) is widely considered a more appropriate term because this type of content is obtained through hacking in an estimated 40% of cases, rather than by disgruntled exes.

FaceChex founder, Mark Bauman, sits down with Charlotte Laws, author of Rebel in High Heels and anti-NCP activist, to discuss how she took down the site that posted private images of her daughter, stolen through hacking.

Charlotte’s daughter sent private images to herself through email to save them on her computer in late 2011. These personal pictures were never intended for anyone else’s eyes, but three months later they showed up on an infamous site that pushed NCP content. The images were accompanied by her full name, city, and a link to her personal Twitter account.

“My daughter was hacked by a friend through Facebook,” Charlotte explains. A hacker was able to compromise one of her daughter’s friends on Facebook and use this connection to hack into her daughter’s personal email account to steal personal pictures. The hacker then sold the private images and personal information to a website infamous for NCP content.

After pleading with the site owner to take down her daughter’s images and receiving only rude refusals, Charlotte devoted all of her time and resources to fighting the site. She reached out to law enforcement and, although she initially encountered a lot of victim blaming and inaction, she was ultimately able to convince the FBI to take her case.

Charlotte was able to create a coalition of victims and a 12″ file of research to help them fight back. “Victims feel helpless…you don’t even want to tell anyone about it,” Charlotte explains. These men and women were publicly humiliated and harassed online. They lost jobs, relationships, and confidence – Charlotte knew she had to help them all. 

After the FBI investigation was opened, the site owner took down the site and sold off the domain used to exploit so many people’s intimate images. It took over a year of investigation, but the site owner and the hacker were ultimately arrested.

The site owner pleaded guilty to two charges: aggravated identity theft and unauthorized access to a protected computer to obtain information for purposes of private financial gain. He was sentenced to 30 months in prison while he hacker he hired was sentenced to 25 months in federal prison. Charlotte is not satisfied with the brevity of these punishments as she refers to NCP as a “sex crime.”

Even though this one website was taken down by the determination of a mother, once a photo is posted online it is highly likely that it will be reposted again and again. These photos could show up on any website at any time and it’s impossible to search the entire internet by yourself, which is why it is so important to be protected by an online image protection tool.

“It’s very important to have these tools in place to help the victims out there,” Charlotte says of the value of investing in FaceChex.

FaceChex is able to provide affordable protection plans that fight against nonconsensual pornography. Invest in your online security today. Click here to support the FaceChex Kickstarter campaign.