August 15, 2013 7:04 PM EST
Hacker Extortion: FBI Investigates a Case of ‘Sextortion’ Targeting Miss Teen USA
Cassidy Wolf, who won the Miss Teen USA 2013, told the media that she had received an anonymous email claiming to have her pictures in the nude. The photos were allegedly taken by hacking her webcam. The hacker had tried to extort her by threatening to release her photos to the general public. There is growing concern about hackers using this "sextortion" on unsuspecting victims.
The FBI is currently investigating the case. The spokesperson for the FBI, Laura Eimiller, has said that the case was several months old, according to the Sydney Morning Herald. Ms Eimiller did not discuss the details of the case.
"Sextortion" is a form of sexual exploitation where the victim is blackmailed using their nude images or videos. The internet has armed the perpetrators of such crime with anonymity.
Speaking to Today.com, Ms Wolf said that the hacking took place before she had a title. "I was just a normal girl in high school. This next year I'm just so excited to be able to share my story and raise awareness in young teens about what can happen."
The first time she got an inclination about the hack was when she received a message from Facebook saying that someone had tried to access her account from another state. She later received the email from the hacker.
The lights of the webcam, Ms Wolf said, did not light up to give an indication that it was on. But apparently someone was watching. She now protects herself by covering the webcam when not in use.
Ms Wolf is now campaigning against cybercrime. She has been visiting schools in her hometown Temecula. She encourages students to protect themselves by frequently changing their passwords, making their passwords unique by adding special characters, deleting the cookies, clearing the browsing history and most importantly by putting a sticker on the webcam when not in use.
Cases of hacker extortion can drop dramatically if people took adequate measures to protect themselves against them. Ms Wolf for her part is sure to use her popularity as the newly crowned Miss Teen USA to help spread the message.