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Later in the day, to underscore his seriousness, the hacker followed up with another email threatening the victim: “You have six hours.” This victim knew her correspondent only as [email protected], but the attacker turned out to be a talented 32-year-old proficient in multiple computer languages.
Located in Santa Ana, California, his name was Luis Mijangos.
We tend think of cybersecurity as a problem for governments, major corporations, and—at an individual level—for people with credit card numbers or identities to steal.
The average teenage or young-adult Internet user, however, is the very softest of cybersecurity targets.
Our key findings include: The paper proceeds in several distinct parts.
We begin with a literature review of the limited existing scholarship and data on sextortion.
Sextortion thus turns out to be quite easy to accomplish in a target-rich environment that often does not require more than malicious guile.
It is a great mistake, however, to confuse sextortion with consensual sexting or other online teenage flirtations. It is also a crime that, as we shall show, does not currently exist in either federal law or the laws of the states.
As the teenage child of one of the present authors put the matter, “You just can’t put a portable porn studio in the hands of every teenager in the country and not expect bad things to happen.” This paper represents an effort―to our knowledge the first―to study in depth and across jurisdictions the problems of sextortion.The perpetrator wanted a pornographic video of the victim.And if she did not send it within one day, he threatened to publish the images already in his possession, and “let [her] family know about [her] dark side.” If she contacted law enforcement, he promised he would publish the photos on the Internet too.When the victim opened the email, she found sexually explicit photos of herself attached and information that detailed where she worked.Following that were details of her personal life: her husband and her three kids. The demand made this hack different: This computer intrusion was not about money.
Law enforcement authorities investigating the emails soon realized that the threatening communications were part of a larger series of crimes.