California cyber sex chat
In at least one case, he posted nude photos of a victim on the Myspace account of a friend of the victim, which Mijangos had also hacked, after she refused to comply with his demands.To make matters worse, Mijangos also used the computers he controlled to spread his malware further, propagating to the people in his victims’ address books instant messages that appeared to come from friends and thereby inducing new victims to download his malware.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.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.Law enforcement authorities investigating the emails soon realized that the threatening communications were part of a larger series of crimes.Mijangos, they discovered, had tricked scores of women and teenage girls into downloading malware onto their computers.
We found nearly 80 such cases involving, by conservative estimates, more than 3,000 victims. Prosecutors colloquially call this sort of crime “sextortion.” And while not all cases are as sophisticated as this one, a great many sextortion cases have taken place―in federal courts, in state courts, and internationally―over a relatively short span of time.
Teenagers and young adults don’t use strong passwords or two-step verification, as a general rule. They sometimes record pornographic or semi-pornographic images or videos of themselves.
And they share material with other teenagers whose cyberdefense practices are even laxer than their own.
Mijangos’ actions constitute serial online sexual abuse—something, we shall argue, akin to virtual sexual assault.
As the prosecutor said in the case, Mijangos “play[ed] psychological games with his victims” His victims reported signs of immense psychological stress, noting that they had “trouble concentrating, appetite change, increased school and family stress, lack of trust in others, and a desire to be alone.” * * * As bizarre as the Mijangos case may sound, his conduct turns out to be not all that unusual.
Sextortion thus turns out to be quite easy to accomplish in a target-rich environment that often does not require more than malicious guile.