Application security, Malware, Phishing

Former State Department worker pleads guilty to sextortion charges

A former U.S. State Department staffer pleaded guilty to a variety of crimes related to a sextortion scheme he was operating.

Michael Ford, who was based in the U.S. London embassy, was charged on Aug. 18 with nine counts of cyberstalking, seven counts of computer hacking to extort and one count of wire fraud, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).

Ford pleaded guilty on December 9 to “perpetrating an international e-mail phishing, computer hacking, and cyberstalking scheme against hundreds of women in the U.S. and abroad. Using e-mail passwords obtained by phishing, he hacked into hundreds of victims' e-mail and social media accounts, stole thousands of sexually explicit photographs, and threatened at least 75 victims that he would release their photos and other personal information unless they agreed to his ‘sextortionate' demands,” the FBI reported

He will be sentenced on February 16, 2016.

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