In a long and moving account of an annus horribilis to rival the worst of them, Charlotte Laws explains how she waged war on Hunter Moore, the founder of the defunct "revenge-porn" site Is Anyone Up? Laws became involved when her daughter's email was hacked and a photo that revealed her breast ended up on Moore's site. Laws is at pains to explain that a very large slice of "revenge porn" does not originate with bitter ex-boyfriends. A large proportion of the material is "frankensteined" porn in which a woman's face is shooped onto the naked body of a porn star, and another slice comes from hacked personal accounts, like Laws's daughter's.
Laws braved brutal harassment and death threats as she painstakingly built a network of Moore's victims, who attacked him online -- watching for him to resurface on Facebook, where he'd been banned, waiting until he'd built a thousand followers, then getting him kicked off; complaining to his service providers, and aiding victims in using takedown notices to get their photos removed -- and offline. Laws chased law enforcement agencies at the local and national level, doggedly continuing until she spurred an FBI investigation that ultimately brought the site down (Moore's prosecution is pending).
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This week, the FBI arrested a 19-year-old computer science student named Jared James Abrahams for tricking young women into installing malicious software on their computers, software that let him covertly operate their webcams and microphones, as well as capturing their keystrokes and plundering their hard-drives. Abrahams captured nude photos of his victims, then threatened to release them to the victims' social media accounts unless they performed live, on-camera sex-acts for him. At least one of his victims was a minor. Another of his victims was Miss Teen USA Cassidy Wolf, who turned him into the FBI.
Ars Technica's Nate Anderson has a spellbinding account of Abrahams's crimes, and the way that the FBI tracked him down, and he places Abrahams in the larger context of "RATers" (crooks who operate Remote Access Trojans -- the kind of malware used by Abrahams). This phenomenon is also the subject of one of the chapters in Anderson's excellent book The Internet Police: How Crime Went Online, and the Cops Followed, and few journalists are better qualified to write about the subject.
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The FBI has indicted Adam Paul Savader for "sextortion," alleging that he hacked women's computers, plundered compromising photos of them, and then threatened them with public embarrassment unless they performed private sex shows for him over their webcams. Savader was Paul Ryan's sole campaign intern in the 2012 elections, and Gawker reports that he also served on the 2011 Gingrich campaign, dressing up as Ellis the Elephant, a mascot for the campaign.
Paul Ryan's Campaign Intern Indicted for Cyberstalking
(via Super Punch)
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