In at least one case, he posted nude photos of a victim on the Myspace account of a friend of the victim, which Mijangos had also hacked, after she refused to comply with his demands.To make matters worse, Mijangos also used the computers he controlled to spread his malware further, propagating to the people in his victims’ address books instant messages that appeared to come from friends and thereby inducing new victims to download his malware.Law enforcement authorities investigating the emails soon realized that the threatening communications were part of a larger series of crimes.Mijangos, they discovered, had tricked scores of women and teenage girls into downloading malware onto their computers.The malicious software he employed provided access to all files, photos, and videos on the infected computers.
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.
The malware Mijangos wrote was sophisticated, and he told federal authorities that he designed it specifically to be undetectable to antivirus programs.
He then, according to court documents, “used [those] intimate images or videos of female victims he stole or captured to ‘sextort’ those victims, threatening to post those images or videos on the Internet unless the victims provided more.” Mijangos’s threats were not idle.
Mijangos’ actions constitute serial online sexual abuse—something, we shall argue, akin to virtual sexual assault.
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.