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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.
The malicious software he employed provided access to all files, photos, and videos on the infected computers.
The average teenage or young-adult Internet user, however, is the very softest of cybersecurity targets.The malware Mijangos wrote was sophisticated, and he told federal authorities that he designed it specifically to be undetectable to antivirus programs.He then, according to court documents, “used [those] intimate images or videos of female victims he stole or captured to ‘sextort’ those victims, threatening to post those images or videos on the Internet unless the victims provided more.” Mijangos’s threats were not idle.Sextortion thus turns out to be quite easy to accomplish in a target-rich environment that often does not require more than malicious guile.It is a great mistake, however, to confuse sextortion with consensual sexting or other online teenage flirtations. It is also a crime that, as we shall show, does not currently exist in either federal law or the laws of the states.We searched dockets and news stories for criminal cases in which one person used a computer network to extort another into producing pornography or engaging in sexual activity.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.All you have to do is answer a couple of simple questions and you’re ready to go.Why get bogged down with inconvenient registration pages when you don’t have to?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.