Fate of webcam spies show courts take hacking seriously when nudity and showers are involved

.mil and .gov sites get hacked regularly, but courts crack down on domestic cyber-spies


"Society has to understand that if you engage in this type of behavior, it's no joke. You are going to jail and going to jail for a long time," according to an explanation of the sentence from U.S. District Judge George King, according to the Associated Press.

King disregarded arguments from defense attorneys that Mijangos should get a short sentence because he only used the malware and photos; he didn't create them.

Where Mijango got the tools didn’t matter, the judge decided.

The dedication, sophistication and perversion of the computer skills Mijango could have used for more positive pursuits rather than a "personal crime wave" made the offense greater, King said, calling Mijango's "personal crime wave" a form of "cyber-terrorism."

The sentence and commentary don't bode well for Southern California computer repair tech who was arrested in June for allegedly giving himself access to clients' webcams, then tricking them into bringing the cams into the bathroom while they showered so he could be sure of getting nude photos.

Trevor Harwell, a 20-year-old former student at La Mirada Christian college was a repair tech for SOHO-sales-and-repair firm Rezitech Inc., is charged with 12 felony counts of computer access and fraud for allegedly installing spyware on clients' computers that gave him access to the machines and control of the webcams.

A Rezitech spokesman said the company cut off Harwell's access to its systems immediately after learning of the accusations and is cooperating with the investigation.

Police said Harwell used the webcams to spy on victims and prompt some that remained stubbornly clothed by sending fake error messages telling users to "fix internal sensors" by "putting your laptop near hot steam for several minutes to clean the sensor," according to the AP's summary of police reports.

The error message prompted several of the victims to take the computers into the bathroom while they showered.

Police said they took "hundreds of thousands" of secretly taken still and video images from Harwell's home computer, where the files ended up after being routed through a remote server that provided a little distance between Harwell and the scene of the crime.

Judging by the $50,000 bond on which he was released – which is high for a non-violent crime – and Mijango's six-year sentence, Harwell is facing a hard prosecution and the prospect of a long stay within the California penal system.

Photo Credit: 

Source: Fullerton Police Dept. booking photo, Trevor Harwell

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