A Californian man has been sentenced to six years in jail after being found guilty of hacking into over 100 PCs to obtain financial information, as well as harvesting nude photographs and blackmailing his victims.
The 32 year-old paraplegic reportedly worked as a freelance computer consultant, but was obviously not satisfied with his $1,000 a week regular job and decided to subsidise it by stealing private data from his victims.
Luis Mijangos reportedly spread Trojan malware such as Poison Ivy by disguising it as regular files on P2P networks and using other social engineering techniques, before harvesting bank account details.
However, in a rather more sinister manner, he also used the malware to watch his victims via the infected machine's webcam, as well as reading their emails and IMs.
In one reported case, he pretended to be the boyfriend of a female victim, who then sent him some pornographic photos of herself. In a technique known as ‘sextortion', he then threatened to post them online unless she sent him more.
Milangos was also a regular on the internet forum for identity thieves, CC Power.
Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant at Sophos, argued that the case highlights the importance of basic security - keeping the PC "protected against the latest threats with anti-malware software, security patches and firewalls".
Most importantly of all, especially for vulnerable women, he recommended webcams to be unplugged when not in use.
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