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A 32 year-old software engineer has been sentenced to two years and two months in prison for remotely accessing chat logs, photos, videos, and webcams of his female victims.
For nine years, between 2010 to 2019, Robert Davies used malware to infiltrate his targets’ devices and access their data without them knowing. In one incident Davies accessed a schoolgirl’s webcam and secretly filmed her undressing and showering.
Davies is not only a voyeur but also a catfish. He is said to have created multiple accounts on Skype to get close to his targets with the end goal of eventually tricking them into performing sex acts for him. While using one of his Skype personas, he befriended an 11 year-old girl and built a relationship with her over the course of two years. He eventually gained access to her computer and switched on her webcam without her realizing.
Andrew Shorrock of the UK’s National Crime Agency (NCA) is quoted saying: “Davies has amassed what can only be described as a cybercriminal’s toolkit. Not only was he using these tools to break in to people’s devices, he was using them to spy on his unsuspecting victims and to steal naked images of them for his own sexual gratification.”
All in all, Davies victimized 25 individuals.
Davies pleaded guilty to all 25 counts of “causing a computer belonging to another to perform a function with intent to secure unauthorized access”, one count of voyuerism, four counts of making sexual photos of children, and one count of owning extreme pornographic media.
“The extent of the damage you have caused is immeasurable and constitutes a total violation of their privacy, ” said Judge Julie Warburton of Nottingham Crown Court as she carried out the sentence.
Technology has made it possible for anyone with the right know-how and ill intent to access someone else’s device and spy on them. Thankfully, incidents of voyuerism and catfishing can be avoided. Here are some tips:
Instant messengers (IMs) and voice-over-IP (VoIP) apps
If there is one final takeaway we can get from the Davies case, it’s that cybercriminals can be very patient. And sometimes, all it takes is one person to choose to take advantage of our trust. One can never be too careful, especially online.
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