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Webcam sextortion perve gets 6 years

Hacked girls' PCs and blackmailed them to pose

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A Peeping Tom webcam sextortionist has been jailed for six years after targeting several young women.

Luis Mijangos, 32, a resident of Santa Ana, California, was imprisoned on Thursday after he was convicted of hacking into more than 100 computers, using stolen personal information, to blackmail his young female victims into posing for sexually explicit videos and pictures.

Mijangos, a freelance computer consultant who is confined to a wheelchair, used malware to compromise victims' machines. In one case he posted naked photos of a woman on her friend's MySpace page. In another he posed as a victim's boyfriend in order to trick her into posing for revealing pictures.

Mijangos used modified versions of remote access tools, such as Poison Ivy or SpyNet, which he planted onto file-sharing networks or sent to victims disguised as video clips or songs so that he could gain compromised access to their PCs, Computerworld reports.

The case is the latest in a long list of prosecutions of voyeurs who used computing technology to abuse victims. For example, Adrian Ringland of Ilkeston, Derbyshire, was jailed for 10 years back in 2006 after he was convicted of using spyware to take explicit photos of kids using compromised access to computer webcams. In 2008, a 47-year-old Cypriot got four years for taking illicit snaps of a teenager after he planted Trojan horse spyware to gain remote control of the 17-year-old's webcam. More discussion on the issue and advice on possible countermeasures (use anti-malware and, if in doubt, disable webcams) can be found in a blog post by Sophos here. ®

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