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Thursday, December 2, 2021

Geneseo Student One of Hundreds Violated:
NYC Snapchat hacker sentenced
in Buffalo to six months in prison

A New York City man who admitted to hacking the Snapchat account of a SUNY Geneseo student and hundreds of others, was sentenced Wednesday by Senior U.S. District Judge William M. Skretny to six months in prison.

David Mondore, 30, was convicted of accessing a protected computer without authorization and, by means of such conduct, furthering the intended fraud and obtaining anything of value. Mondore, who entered a guilty plea to the charge in June, faced the possibility of a five-year prison sentence and a $250,000 fine.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Charles M. Kruly, who handled the case, stated that between July 2018 and August 2020, the defendant gained unauthorized access to, and control of, Snapchat accounts belonging to third parties. After doing so, Mondore often located nude “selfie” photos saved in the victims’ “My Eyes Only” folder, which the defendant then saved to his own phone.

Mondore gained unauthorized access to Snapchat accounts belonging to 14 victims in the Western District of New York, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office. Mondore admitted to federal investigators that he gained unauthorized access to at least 300 Snapchat accounts belonging to victims both in the Western District of New York and elsewhere. Some of his victims were minors. Many attended Bethlehem High School in Delmar, Albany County.

After gaining unauthorized access to a victim’s Snapchat account, Mondore typically sent messages from the Snapchat account to the victim’s Snapchat contacts, sending them under the ruse that the first victim needed the second victim’s Snapchat login credentials to access the second victim’s account to see if they had been blocked by another Snapchat user.

After receiving the second victim’s login credentials and gaining unauthorized access to the second victim’s Snapchat account, Mondore sent a text message to the second victim using a smartphone application that allowed him to anonymize his true phone number. The text message purported to be from Snapchat Security and requested — as a way of verifying that the second victim’s Snapchat account had been legitimately accessed — that the second victim send the passcode for his or her “My Eyes Only” folder.

After the second victim sent his or her “My Eyes Only” passcode, Mondore could, and did, gain unauthorized access to the second victim’s “My Eyes Only” folder, from which he could locate and save the second victim’s nude photos. After gaining access to the second victim’s Snapchat account, the defendant then repeated this pattern of activity by using the second victim’s Snapchat account to contact, and then gain unauthorized access to, Snapchat accounts belonging to the second victim’s Snapchat contacts.

One of Mondore’s victims was a female SUNY Geneseo student who was identified in court documents as “Victim 1.” In that case, after gaining access to the victim’s “My Eyes Only” folder, Mondore sent an explicit photo of her to 116 of her contacts, with the caption reading: “Flash me back if we are besties.” Four of Victim 1’s Snapchat contacts responded by sending the defendant explicit photos of themselves.

According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the FBI became aware in December 2019 that the Snapchat account belonging to Victim 1 had been compromised. Investigators were eventually able to trace the phone numbers purporting to send text messages from Snapchat security and the IP addresses used to hack into victims’ Snapchat accounts to Mondore, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.

A search of Mondore’s iCloud account also revealed the explicit photos of Victim 1, according to the Attorney’s Office. The sentencing is the result of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, under the direction of Special Agent-in-Charge Stephen Belongia.

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