Just over a week ago, I wrote a piece about internet safety and how you have to work to stay protected. It was called, Why Porn Sites Are Safer Than Small Business Web Sites.
Now comes some shocking and very, very scary news. Private citizens, those with webcams, remote or built into their computers, tablets or smartphone devices are being hacked. Without the victim knowing, their camera's have been activated, their actions recorded. And in many cases, picking up innocent people in a totally nude state.
Then, these people are contacted and extorted or their pictures will be released across the Internet on social media sites. Sometimes using your personal accounts, meaning all of your friends and contacts will be shown these images.
The extortion being extracted isn't only money. In order to keep these private video/pictures off the Internet, the perpetrators in some cases are having their innocent victims perform perverse sex acts on camera for the pleasure of the extortionist.
Sound like it's science fiction or that it can't happen to you. YOU'RE WRONG.
Here's the story of the current 2013 Miss Teen USA, Cassidy Wolf.
About four months ago, Wolf said she received an anonymous e-mail from a stranger saying he was in possession of photos of her that were taken in her bedroom via the webcam on her computer after it was hacked. The person tried to extort her in return for ensuring the photos were not made public.
“I wasn’t aware that somebody was watching me (on my webcam),’’ she said. “The light (on the camera) didn't even go on, so I had no idea.”
Now it's not just beauty queens and models who have been hacked. It's regular people like you and me. And we don't know it.
HUFFPO reports this:
Jared James Abrahams of Temecula surrendered to agents at the FBI office in Orange County to face a charge of extortion that could send him to federal prison for up to two years, FBI spokeswoman Laura Eimiller said.
That sounds like a pretty light sentence, up to two years for what he did.
Abrahams, a college freshman majoring in computer science, allegedly would use the women's webcams to capture nude images, then send emails threatening to post them on their hacked social media accounts unless they either sent him nude photos, a nude video, or logged onto the Skype video chat service and follow his orders for five minutes.
According to the affidavit, the victims included several women from other countries.
One teenager in Ireland responded to the demands by writing: "Please remember I'm 17. Have a heart," according to the court record.
Abrahams allegedly responded: "I'll tell you this right now! I do NOT have a heart. However, I do stick to my deals. Also age doesn't mean a thing to me!!!"
The girl then allegedly stripped during a Skype session, according to the FBI affidavit. A woman in Canada also stripped, according to the document.
Cyber-crimes are here. They're now. And they could be happening to you and if you don't take precautions, you might not find out until it's too late.
If something like this happens to you, please call the authorities. Here's how to contact them.