The malicious software he employed provided access to all files, photos, and videos on the infected computers.
And if they did, he would then threaten them further, notifying them that he knew they had told someone.
The malware Mijangos wrote was sophisticated, and he told federal authorities that he designed it specifically to be undetectable to antivirus programs.
If the prosecutorial estimates in the various cases are to be believed, the number of actual victims probably ranges between 3,000 and 6,500―and, for reasons we explain below, may be much higher even than that.
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.
Mijangos’ actions constitute serial online sexual abuse—something, we shall argue, akin to virtual sexual assault.
As the prosecutor said in the case, Mijangos “play[ed] psychological games with his victims” His victims reported signs of immense psychological stress, noting that they had “trouble concentrating, appetite change, increased school and family stress, lack of trust in others, and a desire to be alone.” * * * As bizarre as the Mijangos case may sound, his conduct turns out to be not all that unusual.
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.
More often, it involves manipulation and trickery on social media.