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From the Federal Bureau of Investigation: Dangerous Connections – Youth Face A Massive Risk of Sextortion Online

One victim was a 14-year-old boy from West Virginia. Another victim from Michigan was only 12. Yet another was a 17-year-old girl from Ohio who attempted suicide in a desperate try to escape the situation.

In total, the FBIFBI FBI - Federal Bureau of Investigation The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is the domestic intelligence and security service of the United States and its principal federal law enforcement agency. Operating under the jurisdiction of the United States Department of Justice, the FBI is also a member of the U.S. Intelligence Community and reports to both the Attorney General and the Director of National Intelligence. A leading U.S. counter-terrorism, counterintelligence, and criminal investigative organization, the FBI has jurisdiction over violations of more than 200 categories of federal crimes, including financial fraud. was able to identify 20 young people who were harassed, threatened, and sexually exploited online by an Indiana man who had served as a youth minister in his community.

When the FBI arrested Richard Finkbiner in April 2012, the 40-year-old had more than 22,000 videos of webcam feeds, much of it sexually explicit content that he had obtained from young people nationwide. Investigators believe he had dozens more victims that they could not identify, perhaps hundreds more.

The Finkbiner case is one in a long list of sextortion cases that have been investigated or prosecuted in the last two decades. FBI agents say more and more cases cross their desks each year involving young people who are manipulated, threatened, or coerced into creating explicit or pornographic content by an adult online.

The perpetrators employ gaming platforms, social media, and dating and video chat applicationsApplications Applications or Apps An application (software), commonly referred to as an ‘app’ is a program on a computer, tablet, mobile phone or device. Apps are designed for specific tasks, including checking the weather, accessing the internet, looking at photos, playing media, mobile banking, etc. Many apps can access the internet if needed and can be downloaded (used) either for a price or for free. Apps are a major point of vulnerability on all devices. Some are designed to be malicious, such as logging keystrokes or activity, and others can even transport malware. Always be careful about any app you are thinking about installing. to reach their young victims and use any number of ploys—from pretending to be a romantic interest, flattery, and attention, offers of money or other items of value, or threats to coerce the child to produce an explicit image.

Once the perpetrator has a single image or video, they will use threats of exposure or other means of coercion to make the child produce more and more images and even more explicit material.

“The second the criminalCriminal A criminal is any person who through a decision or act engages in a crime. This can be complicated, as many people break laws unknowingly, however, in our context, it is a person who makes a decision to engage in unlawful acts or to place themselves with others who do this. A criminal always has the ability to decide not to break the law, or if they initially engage in crime to stop doing it, but instead continues. gets a picture, that child’s life is going to be turned upside down,” said Special Agent Ryan Barrett, who worked on Finkbiner’s case from the FBI’s Indianapolis Field Office. “These people are relentless. They don’t care.”

Finkbiner sent his victims doctored but believable screenshots of their videos on pornographic websites when they refused to comply with his next demand; he also sent lists of friends and family taken from the young people’s social media accounts with threats to widely share their material. Seeing some of the messages Finkbiner sent his victims can help make clear how threatening and brutal these perpetrators can be:

“I wont get caught im a hackerHacker A computer hacker is a computer expert who uses their technical knowledge to achieve a goal or overcome an obstacle, within a computerized system by non-standard means. Though the term hacker has become associated in popular culture with a security hacker – someone who utilizes their technical know-how of bugs or exploits to break into computer systems and access data which would otherwise be unavailable to them – hacking can also be utilized by legitimate figures in legal situations. For example, law enforcement agencies sometimes use hacking techniques in order to collect evidence on criminals and other malicious actors. This could include using anonymity tools (such as a VPN, or the dark web) to mask their identities online, posing as criminals themselves. Likewise, covert world agencies can employ hacking techniques in the legal conduct of their work. Oppositely, hacking and cyber-attacks are used extra- and illegally by law enforcement and security agencies (conducting warrantless activities), and employed by State actors as a weapon of both legal and illegal warfare. i covered my tracks.”

“If u don’t play i promise ill f*** your life over.”