The laptop always sat open in her bedroom, as she played music or communicated with her friends. Abrahams had been watching her from her laptop camera for a year, Wolf later learned. March 11 2014

Cassidy Wolf, the reigning Miss Teen USA, received an ominous e-mail message in March 2013.

The e-mail, from an unidentified sender, included nude photos of her that were obviously taken in her bedroom from her laptop.  The same laptop that always sat open in her bedroom.  The same laptop that she now realized someone had been using to spy on her.  "Either you do one of the things listed below or I upload these pics and a lot more...” the e-mail said.  And so began what Wolf describes as three months of torture.

The person that blackmailed Cassidy was eventually caught in an international crackdown by the FBI and police in 19 countries that has brought more than 90 arrests in what authorities say is a serious strike against a widespread and growing problem.  

The scariest part about this story is that it doesn’t end here.  These 90 arrests only scratch the surface.  The malware used in this hacking, “blackshades”, can be bought for as little as $40 and can be used to hack into and highjack computers, access hard drives, capture keystrokes and, yes, turn on webcams.  All this, without the victim ever knowing what’s going on.  AND, it can access your webcam without turning on the light that indicates your webcam is operating.

What does Cassidy Wolf do now to protect her privacy? 

She said her passwords are now more complicated and unique for each account, and she changes them often. She uses updated security software.  She also has a new laptop and… she covers the webcam with a sticker.


This story has been widely reported and can be found here: