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Doctor hacked over 2,000 pictures of former South Jersey classmates, police say

Dr. Peter Grosssman
Dr. Peter Grosssman (Burlington County Prosecutor’s Office)

MOUNT HOLLY — A Philadelphia doctor was charged with hacking into the email accounts, cell phone and social media accounts of former female classmates at Delran High School and copying over 2,000 personal photos.

Peter Grossman, 29, a member of the class of 2005, was a doctor for Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in Philadelphia, was able to get into the Facebook, Snapfish, and iCloud accounts of 25 women, 12 of whom were positively identified, according to Burlington County Prosecutor Robert Bernardi.

One of the women suspected her email and cell phone had been illegally accessed and went to Delran Police who worked with the Burlington County Prosecutor’s Office High-Tech Crimes Unit.

After police suspected Grossman, they obtained a search warrant in September to confiscate six electronic devices that belonged to him.

Bernardi said easy-to-guess passwords using information in the victim’s public profiles helped Grossman figure out their passwords.

“This case presents an excellent warning concerning passwords, and why they must be complex in order to withstand attempts by hackers and anybody else to gain access to private accounts,” Bernardi said.

A spokeswoman for Thomas Jefferson University Hospital said Grossman is no longer employed by them.

New Jersey 101.5 science and technology consultant Dave Loudon said that the problem with passwords is that “everyone tries to come up with a password that is easy to type, easy to remember and unfortunately relentlessly obvious in terms of being able to guess them.” He says that a surprising number of people actually use the word “password” or the default password.

There are two philosophies to go when selecting your own password, according to Loudon.

“One is a shorter password with sort of random numbers and letters and special characters. The other says that having a very long password, even one that is composed of standard dictionary words is actually quite secure if you have a 15 or 20 character password, something to the effect of ‘this is my very long password’ is very difficult for people to guess. It’s more of a passphrase rather than a password.”

Grossman was charged with one count of second-degree impersonation and theft of identity, six counts of third-degree impersonation and theft of identity, 21 counts of third-degree elements of computer theft, and seven counts of fourth-degree invasion of privacy.

Grossman has been released from custody and is awaiting the case to be presented to a grand jury.

Thomas Jefferson University Medical Center did not return a request for comment Monday.

Contact reporter Dan Alexander at Dan.Alexander@townsquaremedia.com.

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