2 men got charged for breaching NBA, NFL players' social media accounts

by Julie Splinters - -

NBA and NFL players became victims of a phishing attack: social media accounts compromised

NBA and NFL players became victims of phishing

Federal authorities have accused two men of hacking social media accounts and email addresses of multiple athletes from the National Basketball Association (NBA) and National Football League (NFL).[1] These men tried to demand ransom or sell players' accounts credentials. According to federal prosecutors, two men managed to hack accounts of victims by sending them social media login pages. But in fact, these websites were phishing sites.

Ronnie Magrehbi from Florida and Trevontae Washington from Louisiana successfully compromised and took over Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Snapchat accounts of several professional and semi-professional football and basketball players. They did it between December 2017 and April 2019, but they were working separately and both cases are not related.

Washington is alleged to have compromised accounts belonging to multiple NFL and NBA athletes. Washington phished for the athletes credentials, messaging them on platforms like Instagram with embedded links to what appeared to be legitimate social media log-in sites, but which, in fact, were used to steal the athletes’ user names and passwords. Once the athletes entered their credentials, Washington and others locked the athletes out of their accounts and used them to gain access to other accounts. 

Phishing[2] is the fraudulent attempt to obtain data or sensitive information: passwords, usernames, details of credit cards, etc. Hackers try to lure victim by disguising as a trustworthy entity who sends emails or messages with links to fake websites which looks like legitimate sites. If the victim enters personal information in such a site, cybercriminals get all that important information.

Nude photos of the NLF player were posted on Twitter and Instagram

According to the criminal complaint,[3] a phishing attack resulted in explicit photos of one NFL player. Contents got posted on his Instagram and Twitter accounts. It is still unclear which player became the victim because he is named as Sufferer-1. The court only explained that he lived in New Jersey and his photos were posted on social media on June 4, 2018.

However, based on the given information, it is possible that the victim is Avery Moss,[4] the New York Giants defensive end. This athlete found his naked photos and videos posted in his Twitter account after he finished an OTA practice on June 4.[5] Also, all accounts he followed were blocked and more photos and videos were posted later but were removed after 30 minutes.

This player wasn't the only victim of Ronnie Magrehbi and Trevontae Washington. They used the phishing sites to obtain sensitive information and lock the rightful owners of the accounts. When players clicked the given link, they saw the login page of a social network but in reality, it was a fake website. After athletes entered sensitive information, that data was sent to hackers. They tried to sell account access to owners for different amounts of money, ranging between $500 to $1,000.

Both men could be sentenced to 20 years in prison

These two men were charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud and conspiracy to commit computer fraud and abuse. The maximum possible penalty for them is 20 years in prison and a $500,000 fine. Both hackers should appear in court on Wednesday.

Phishing is a very popular method among hackers who want to find victims on the internet. Not only athletes but ordinary people can become victims. Experts say that all people should be very careful and check the page in which they enter sensitive information.[6] Also, users should ignore all suspicious emails with links to unofficial login pages or emails requiring credit card details.

About the author
Julie Splinters
Julie Splinters - Malware removal specialist

Julie Splinters is the News Editor of 2-spyware. Her bachelor was English Philology.

Contact Julie Splinters
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