In what feels like the one billionth installment of We Can't Have Nice Things, some pervy asshole's been creeping on Fortnite-playing minors. Over the past few weeks, according to police from the Quebec, Canada area, a number of parents have stepped forward to complain that their kids were asked, in-game and via Instagram, to fire over nude photos of themselves. The payoff: ways and means of advancing their in-game prowess. Once the prick had their hands on the pics, the kid that sent them would be threatened: send more or the ones that the pederast already had would be plastered all over the internet.
From The CBC:
Four cases have been reported in the past few weeks, according to police.
In three of those cases, minors were threatened, and in one, the victim sent personal photos to the cyber-predator.
Sgt. Jean-Luc Tremblay with the Richelieu Saint-Laurent police said the predator, or predators, tried to infiltrate groups of friends by offering them a chance to advance their game in exchange for providing revealing photos.
Police are working with school boards in the area to disseminate information about the sextortion.
Being a kid is already difficult enough without having to endure this kind of horse shit. Parents need to be on their guard and kids need to be educated in how to avoid these greasy shits online. It's a mantra that too many people have had to type too many times.
Hopefully, those responsible will have left enough digital breadcrumbs to be tracked down and dealt with--quickly. Read the rest
A new twist on an old email scam making the rounds addresses its recipients by name and uses an actual password (hopefully deprecated). They attempt to blackmail victims, and it's definitely a little anxiety-inducing to see an old password written out. Read the rest
The porn extortion scam works like this: you get an email from a stranger claiming that he hacked your computer and recorded video of you masturbating to pornography, which he'll release unless you send him some cryptocurrency.
Read the rest
So far 864 people in the UK have reported instances of "webcam blackmail" to police in 2016, more than double the number of reported incidents in 2015. Read the rest
Michael C Ford has been sentenced to four years and nine months in prison, having pleaded guilty to running a sextortion/phishing operation from his work computer at the US embassy in London for two years. Read the rest
Michael C. Ford has pleaded guilty to accusations that he spent at least two years coercing at least 75 women into sending him naked photos of themselves and other women he demanded that they covertly photograph in dressing rooms and changing rooms. Ford worked at the US embassy in London while committing his crimes. Read the rest
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). Read the rest
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. Read the rest
I reviewed Ronald Diebert's new book Black Code in this weekend's edition of the Globe and Mail. Diebert runs the Citizen Lab at the University of Toronto and has been instrumental in several high-profile reports that outed government spying (like Chinese hackers who compromised the Dalai Lama's computer and turned it into a covert CCTV) and massive criminal hacks (like the Koobface extortion racket). His book is an amazing account of how cops, spies and crooks all treat the Internet as the same kind of thing: a tool for getting information out of people without their knowledge or consent, and how they end up in a kind of emergent conspiracy to erode the net's security to further their own ends. It's an absolutely brilliant and important book:
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Ronald Deibert’s new book, Black Code, is a gripping and absolutely terrifying blow-by-blow account of the way that companies, governments, cops and crooks have entered into an accidental conspiracy to poison our collective digital water supply in ways small and large, treating the Internet as a way to make a quick and dirty buck or as a snoopy spy’s best friend. The book is so thoroughly disheartening for its first 14 chapters that I found myself growing impatient with it, worrying that it was a mere counsel of despair.
But the final chapter of Black Code is an incandescent call to arms demanding that states and their agents cease their depraved indifference to the unintended consequences of their online war games and join with civil society groups that work to make the networked society into a freer, better place than the world it has overwritten.
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) Read the rest