Later in the day, to underscore his seriousness, the hacker followed up with another email threatening the victim: “You have six hours.” This victim knew her correspondent only as [email protected], but the attacker turned out to be a talented 32-year-old proficient in multiple computer languages.
Located in Santa Ana, California, his name was Luis Mijangos.
For the first time in the history of the world, the global connectivity of the Internet means that you don’t have to be in the same country as someone to sexually menace that person.
The problem of this new sex crime of the digital age, fueled by ubiquitous Internet connections and webcams, is almost entirely unstudied. Brock Nicholson, head of Homeland Security Investigations in Atlanta, Georgia, recently said of online sextoriton, “Predators used to stalk playgrounds.
We begin with a literature review of the limited existing scholarship and data on sextortion.
This is the new playground.” But while the FBI has issued numerous warnings about sextortion, the government publishes no data on the subject.
Unlike its close cousin, the form of nonconsensual pornography known as “revenge porn,” the problem of sextortion has not received sustained press attention or action in numerous state legislatures, in part because with few exceptions, sextortion victims have chosen to remain anonymous, as the law in most jurisdictions permits. The 78 cases we reviewed alone involve at least 1,397 victims, and this is undoubtedly just the tip of the iceberg.
In it, we look at the methods used by perpetrators and the prosecutorial tools authorities have used to bring offenders to justice.
We hope that by highlighting the scale and scope of the problem, and the brutality of these cases for the many victims they affect, to spur a close look at both state and federal laws under which these cases get prosecuted.
The malware Mijangos wrote was sophisticated, and he told federal authorities that he designed it specifically to be undetectable to antivirus programs.