Hacker Uses Webcam Video to Blackmail Miss Teen USA

Dennis Faas's picture

A 19-year-old man has pleaded guilty to blackmailing women after hacking their webcams and taking compromising pictures. Miss Teen USA winner Cassidy Wolf was among Jared James Abrahams' victims.

According to prosecutors, Abrahams carried out his crimes over a two-year period, targeting women in the US and Europe. The youngest victim was just 16 years of age, with the others in their teens and early 20s. (Source: bbc.co.uk)

Abrahams used malicious software to infect the computers of his victims. This software allowed him to view the webcam video whenever the computer was switched on, even if the owner was not intentionally using the device.

He would then wait until the camera caught the woman undressing and take photographs or even record videos.

Webcam Hacker Makes Creepy Demands

Next, Abrahams would send the images or video to the victim and issue a blackmail demand. He said he would make the images public on social media sites unless the victim either sent him new photographs and / or videos of themselves, or spent five minutes in front of their webcams following his every demand.

It's not known how all of the women responded, though Abrahams has admitted that at least one women did perform on camera for him.

Among the victims was beauty pageant winner Cassidy Wolf. Abrahams seized control of her Twitter account and changed her account photo to one of her partially undressed before issuing his blackmail threats.

Beauty Queen Refuses to be Extorted

Wolf refused to comply with the demands and instead took the story public, appearing in TV interviews to highlight the threats. Some TV networks have called Abrahams' activities "sextortion."

After the FBI tracked him down, Abrahams admitted to having hijacked between 100 and 150 computers before blackmailing women in at least two dozen cases. Seven of the victims were specifically identified in prosecution cases (though only their initials were revealed in court).

Abrahams has plead guilty to four charges, including computer hacking and extortion. He faces up to 11 years in prison and could also be hit with a large fine.

Defense lawyers have pleaded for leniency, noting he made a full confession. They have also argued that he is autistic and "socially disconnected", though admit this is no excuse for his actions. (Source: latimes.com)

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