A North Carolina man last week was sentenced to 110 years in prison after admitting that he and a co-conspirator hacked into computers used by young girls and used illicitly gained data to blackmail them.
Ivory D. Dickerson, 33, a civil engineer, admitted that he conspired with the other person to send emails or instant messages to underage girls as part of a scheme to trick them into opening a file containing the Bifrost trojan horse. The malware would give Dickerson and his co-conspirator control over the victim's computer, and they tried to use hacked information to coerce the girls into creating and then electronically sending them lurid photos of themselves, prosecutors said.
The Bifrost malware, "is relatively easy to obtain," said Richard Wang, manager of SophosLabs U.S. "It's not something you need to pay for. Since we first saw it in April of 2005, we've seen over 1,200 different versions of this Trojan. The guys who write them are always trying to put up new versions to hide them from anti-virus software."
Wang added that the Trojan horse not only allows hackers to view information and download other malware onto a victims' computer, it also enables him to pop messages up on their computer screen.
"It gave [Dickerson] administrator type access," said Assistant U.S. Attorney Roger Handberg, who handled the case in the U.S. District Court in Middle District of Florida. "He was able to access her files and photos... It's scary. In the law enforcement world, people worry about criminals breaking in through their front door. Now, people have to worry about people breaking in through their computers."