A California man who hacked into hundreds of women’s and teenage girls' computers, extorting sexually explicit videos and photos from them, has been sentenced to six years in prison.
According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Luis Mijangos, 32, using pop songs, tricked about 230 victims into downloading a virus that helped him to steal their personal information.
U.S. District Judge George King on Thursday said his crime was a form of cyber terrorism that caused emotional distress to his victims. Mijangos, who was living in Santa Ana, is an illegal immigrant from Mexico.
Mijangos had faced maximum of 10-year sentence, but in March he pleaded guilty to charges of computer hacking and wiretapping. He specifically admitted that in late 2009 he hacked into a teenager’s computer and commandeered her webcam to secretly obtain naked pictures of her.
Authorities said a virus was sent to more than 100 computers which allowed him to read victims’ e-mails, watch them through their webcams and trick them into taking naked pictures by posing as their boyfriends.
Mijangos also blackmailed his victims by saying he would post their pictures on the Internet if they did not send him more explicit videos, CNN reported. When one victim told a friend about Mijangos’ threats, he responded by posting nude pictures of her on her MySpace page, prosecutors said in their sentencing brief.
The FBI has seen a rise in cases with exploitation of emerging technologies by criminals, Steven Martinez, assistant director in charge of the FBI’s Los Angeles field office, told the Orange County Register.
After a victim went to Glendale police, the FBI arrested Mijangos in June 2010 at his house.
FBI forensics experts said that he had infected more than 100 computers used by approximately 230 individuals, out of whom at least 44 were minors.