Peeping Tom Hacker Gets 6 Years for 'Sextortion'
A Southern California man who hacked into the computers of more than 100 women and teenage girls and blackmailed them into sending him nude photos of themselves has been sentenced to six years behind bars.
Using malicious software disguised as popular songs or videos, Luis Mijangos, 32, of Santa Ana, Calif., hacked into his victims' computers, read their emails and spied on them through their webcams, the Associated Press reported.
According to the security firm Sophos, which covered the story after Mijangos was arrested last year, Mijangos is believed to have been able to remotely turn on his victims' webcams to capture secret pictures and video of them.
This illegal privacy invasion wasn't enough to satisfy Mijangos. From here, his "sextortion" scheme got under way.
Once inside his target's computers, he found nude photos the women had taken of themselves, and also posed as the women's boyfriends in an effort to persuade them to send him nude pics. He then threatened to post these racy pictures online and send them to their friends and family unless the women sent him more or if they reported him to police.
In one case, he followed through, posting naked pictures of a 35-year-old woman on her friend's MySpace page.
The woman, identified only as "G.M.," spoke at Mijangos' sentencing, telling the court, "He haunts me every time I use the computer. You don't have to be in jail to feel trapped."
Mijangos is the latest cybercriminal to be caught using his tech skills to spy on women. In June, a California computer technician named Trevor Harwell was arrested for installing spyware on his female customers' computers, tricking them into bringing their computers into the bathroom, and then secretly taking photos of them showering and undressing.
To lower the chances of falling victim to peeping Toms like Mijangos and Harwell, make sure your computer is outfitted with up-to-date anti-virus and anti-spyware software, and unplug your webcam when you're not using it.
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