Feeds

PC consultant pleads not guilty to malware 'sextortion' plot

Unknowing victims shot in some sort of undress

The Power of One eBook: Top reasons to choose HP BladeSystem

A California computer consultant has pleaded not guilty to federal charges he engaged in an insidious “sextortion” scheme in which he hacked into scores of computers and used the personal information he found to extort sexually explicit videos from female victims, many of whom were juveniles.

Luis Mijangos of Santa Ana, California, entered the plea in Los Angeles federal court on Monday, assistant US attorney Mark Krause said. He remains free on a $10,000 unsecured bond, according to court documents.

According to court documents, Mijangos used peer-to-peer networks to infect more than 100 computers with malware that allowed him to take full control of video cameras and access intimate pictures, videos and other files. He then notified female victims that he planned to publish the sensitive information unless they provided him with sexually explicit videos.

In other cases, Mijangos used the compromised computers of teenage boys to trick their girlfriends into providing him with “intimate images and videos,” according to an indictment filed in the case. He would then contact the female victims directly and demand additional intimate content.

Investigators who searched Mijangos's home said they found dozens of videos that appeared to be shot from the web cams of infected PCs. They “showed the unknowing victim in some sort of undress (ie getting out of the shower, dressing for the day, having sex with a partner)”, according to an affidavit filed in the case. Many of the victims remain unidentified and appear to be juveniles.

Mijangos is also accused of using the information lifted from infected PCs to engage in payment card fraud. In March, he possessed at least 15 “unauthorized access devices,” which is legal parlance for things such as stolen usernames and passwords, account numbers and verification numbers. Institutions that were allegedly defrauded included PayPal and Wachovia Bank.

His next court appearance is scheduled for August 9 for a pre-trial status conference. Trial has been set for August 17, but it wouldn't be surprising for that date to be pushed back, given the complexity of the case. ®

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications

More from The Register

next story
Mozilla fixes CRITICAL security holes in Firefox, urges v31 upgrade
Misc memory hazards 'could be exploited' - and guess what, one's a Javascript vuln
How long is too long to wait for a security fix?
Synology finally patches OpenSSL bugs in Trevor's NAS
Don't look, Snowden: Security biz chases Tails with zero-day flaws alert
Exodus vows not to sell secrets of whistleblower's favorite OS
Roll out the welcome mat to hackers and crackers
Security chap pens guide to bug bounty programs that won't fail like Yahoo!'s
HIDDEN packet sniffer spy tech in MILLIONS of iPhones, iPads – expert
Don't panic though – Apple's backdoor is not wide open to all, guru tells us
Researcher sat on critical IE bugs for THREE YEARS
VUPEN waited for Pwn2Own cash while IE's sandbox leaked
Four fake Google haxbots hit YOUR WEBSITE every day
Goog the perfect ruse to slip into SEO orfice
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Seven Steps to Software Security
Seven practical steps you can begin to take today to secure your applications and prevent the damages a successful cyber-attack can cause.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.