If scouring Facebook for clues of infidelity isn’t sufficient, what else is a jealous lover to do but hack into his or her significant other’s email? That was the philosophy behind “Needapassword.com,” a site that’s been around since 2005, and promised customers access to their partners’ inboxes to discover if they’re cheating. Because raging insecurity and the need to steal a password from the person you love is definitely a sign that, “This is the one…. worth breaking the law for.”
A federal indictment revealed this week in California charged an Arkansas duo, Mark Anthony Townsend, 45, and Joshua Alan Tabor, 29, with running the site which promised to get passwords from Google, Yahoo, and other browser-based email accounts. A criminal complaint says they charged people from $50 to $350 for passwords, though doesn’t say how they obtained them. Phishing attacks seem likely, based on the FAQ on the site below. After getting the password, they’d send the buyer a shot of the person’s inbox, and then ask for payment via Paypal before handing it over. Prosecutors allege they obtained passwords for over 5,900 email accounts.
The archived “needapassword.com” site shows a naivety about the criminal nature of the service. In the Terms & Conditions section, users are told their IP addresses will be recorded, explaining, “This information is only being obtained should a client attempt to do anything illegal with the services we provide.” Um, that was kind of the point of the service.
Tabor and Townsend were charged with hacking and facilitating hacking by others. Why did the site get taken down now after being in operation for nearly a decade? The Justice Department says it was part of an international sting of “hackers for hire.” Law enforcement in China, India, and Romania also went after sites like this, taking down zhackgroup.com, spyhackgroup.com, rajahackers.com, clickhack.com, ghostgroup.org, email-hackers.com, www.hirehacker.net, www.anonymiti.com, and hiretohack.net. Among those arrested in Romania, according to local media, is Guccifer, the high-profile hacker who introduced the world to former president George Bush’s artistry.
The U.S. also went after high-volume customers, filing charges against three American men of California, New York and Michigan who allegedly paid from $1,000 to $20,000 for email passwords.