BIRMINGHAM – A former Shelby County resident will spend six months in federal prison for illegally accessing email and cloud storage accounts of more than 50 women to obtain personal data, including explicit photographs.
U.S. District Court Judge Abdul K. Kallon today sentenced Kevin Maldanado, 35, now living in North Carolina, on one count of intentionally accessing the Gmail account of K.M., and the documents and images therein, without her permission in order to invade her privacy. Maldonado pleaded guilty to the charge in February. Judge Kallon ordered him to serve three years of supervised release following his prison sentence. Maldonado must report to prison July 17.
Maldonado “repeatedly and indiscriminately gained access to multiple women’s computers for a period of at least two years using a number of methods, in essence, to stalk them,” according to the government’s sentencing memorandum.
“[T]he defendant spent countless hours creating numerous fictitious email accounts impersonating email administrators from multiple email providers; sending numerous emails from these accounts demanding login and password information; and then frequently checking the fictitious email accounts for response emails from victims,” the memorandum said.
“The defendant also spent untold hours trolling the accounts he accessed via phishing for additional password information and conducting extensive open source research, for example on websites such as spokeo.com, on potential victims and making note of information about them including birthdates, places of employment, collegiate affiliations, etc. He then used this information to try to guess victims’ passwords, or answer the security questions necessary to re-set them,” the memorandum said.
Once the defendant accessed the victims’ accounts, he downloaded their data, including personal identifying information and personal photographs and videos, including images of them nude, partially nude, or engaged in sexual activity.
Maldonado knew some, but not all of the women he victimized and seemed motivated by more than a desire to see pornographic images, according to the government’s memorandum. His actions “appear to be based on an intentional need to violate others privacy – as many others as he could,” it says.
Much of the information Maldonado obtained illegally he catalogued by victim or group and saved to an external computer hard drive for easy access.
“In this age of digital living, passwords and security questions serve the same function as the lock on the front door once did,” the memorandum said.
“Computer intrusions are the new ‘break ins’ and must be punished as such. Actions like the defendant’s compromise emails systems, decrease trust in technology, increase the security burdens imposed on everyone, and make it more difficult for people to access their accounts and their information, and quite simply live their lives.”