An alleged member of Anonymous has been tracked down after he posted a picture of his scantily clad girlfriend in an image bragging about his hacking exploits.
Higinio O. Ochoa III from Texas has been charged hacking into the websites of at least four US law enforcement agencies before, in one case at least, posting personal information including home addresses and phone numbers related to dozens of police officers.
Ochoa, is an alleged member of CabinCr3w, an offshoot of the hacktivist collective Anonymous. A criminal complaint filed in connection with the case reveals that pictures of a amply proportioned young woman taken in an outer-Melbourne suburb played a key role in the case, Australian paper The Age reports.
The image was taken with an iPhone and posted at an online location below a law enforcement data dump. The URL was publicised via updates to a Twitter account, @AnonW0rmer, allegedly maintained by Ochoa.
The photo, cropped from the neck down, featured the bikini-clad babe holding a sign saying "PwNd by w0rmer & CabinCr3w <3 u BiTch's". Whoever uploaded the photo, which was taken via an iPhone, failed to purge its metadata which revealed the GPS co-ordinates in an outer-Melbourne suburb where the photo was taken. "EXiF data from this picture shows that it taken with an iPhone 4 and edited with Photoshop," the complaint states.
This GPS location allowed local police to easily track down the presumed residence of the woman pictured in the photo, believed to be Ochoa's Australian girlfriend, and others like it in a similar vein promoting Anonymous. One of these featured a picture of the same woman alongside a sign stating "Come me bro! @AnonwOrmer #Cabincr3w".
FBI investigators found two references to the pseudonym ''w0rmer'' on other internet locations, one of which featured Ochoa's name. Ochoa's Facebook page revealed he was dating an Australian woman, adding another important piece to the jigsaw puzzle of carelessly left information that allowed police to first monitor and then arrest Ochoa, a computer programmer by trade, last month.
Ochoa faces charges related to hacks against the West Virginia Chiefs of Police website and the Alabama Department of Public Safety database, the Mobile Police Department servers, the Texas Department of Safety and the Houston County's database in a spate of attacks in early February.
"A review of log files from the Texas DPS website revealed that it had been compromised on February 8 ... utilising a SQL injection vulnerability that allowed the attacker to gain unauthorized access to server resources including tables on a database utilized by the webserver. This access allowed the attacker to create and drop database tables as well as download data, all functions that were not intended," the criminal complaint alleges.
The hack was carried out using an internet connection assigned to a house close to Ochoa's residence in Galveston, Texas. Investigators reckon Ochoa's used an insecure internet connection to carry out the attack.
Ochoa was scheduled to appear in a criminal court in Austin, Texas over the alleged hacking attack on Tuesday, 10 April. ®