Feeds

PC consultant pleads not guilty to malware 'sextortion' plot

Unknowing victims shot in some sort of undress

Protecting users from Firesheep and other Sidejacking attacks with SSL

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. ®

The next step in data security

More from The Register

next story
Israeli spies rebel over mass-snooping on innocent Palestinians
'Disciplinary treatment will be sharp and clear' vow spy-chiefs
Infosec geniuses hack a Canon PRINTER and install DOOM
Internet of Stuff securo-cockups strike yet again
THREE QUARTERS of Android mobes open to web page spy bug
Metasploit module gobbles KitKat SOP slop
'Speargun' program is fantasy, says cable operator
We just might notice if you cut our cables
Apple Pay is a tidy payday for Apple with 0.15% cut, sources say
Cupertino slurps 15 cents from every $100 purchase
YouTube, Amazon and Yahoo! caught in malvertising mess
Cisco says 'Kyle and Stan' attack is spreading through compromised ad networks
Hackers pop Brazil newspaper to root home routers
Step One: try default passwords. Step Two: Repeat Step One until success
Greater dev access to iOS 8 will put us AT RISK from HACKERS
Knocking holes in Apple's walled garden could backfire, says securo-chap
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
Security and trust: The backbone of doing business over the internet
Explores the current state of website security and the contributions Symantec is making to help organizations protect critical data and build trust with customers.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.