LOS ANGELES (AP) — By disguising malicious software as popular songs, hacker Luis Mijangos managed to tap into and control more than 100 computers of young women and teenage girls.
He read their emails, watched them through webcams without their knowledge and most damaging was his discovery of nude photos they had taken of themselves. Mijangos then threatened to post the images online unless his victims were willing to provide more racy photos or videos to him or if they went to police.
Mijangos, 32, of Santa Ana is scheduled to be sentenced Thursday in federal court in what authorities believe is one of the more unusual cases they've seen because they contend Mijangos wasn't interested in getting money. He was motivated by sex.
Prosecutors are asking a judge to impose a seven-year prison sentence against Mijangos, who pleaded guilty in March to one count each of computer hacking and wiretapping.
Calling it "sextortion," authorities said Mijangos infiltrated the most intimate parts of his victims' lives and scarred them for a lifetime.
"He could have hacked into their computers, obtained financial information, deleted the malware and left undetected," prosecutors wrote in court documents. "Instead he made contact with his victims and played psychological games with them intending to inflict emotional harm."
Prosecutors portrayed Mijangos as a savvy and sophisticated computer programmer who monitored every detail of those he watched over the course of 1½ years.
He installed a device on infected computers that allowed him to record every keystroke and steal financial data, according to court documents. Mijangos also posed as some victims' boyfriends and asked them to make pornographic videos for him, authorities said.
In one instance, court documents show, Mijangos was listening through a computer microphone as a woman spoke to police about threats he had made toward her and her then-boyfriend.
Mijangos followed through on his threat at least once by posting naked pictures of one of his victims online, authorities said.
Mijangos acknowledged to FBI agents that he hacked the computers but said he did so at the request of the victims' boyfriends and husbands to determine whether the victims were cheating on them, authorities said.
Authorities said the infected computers were used by about 230 people, including dozens who were minors.