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Ransomware Leaves Victims at Mercy of Child Porn Charges

Ransomware Attacks Smartphones, Downloads Child Porn, Can Lead to Child Porn Criminal Charges

RansomwareAccording to police, hackers have found a way to break into smartphones and extort the phones’ owners by downloading child pornography and threatening potential child porn charges.

The new scam, involving a computer program called Ransomware, which is sent to smartphones along with child pornography – and the phones’ owners are unable to delete the images. After the images have been sent, according to police investigators, a message appears on the phone: “This phone has been found to have accessed explicit or pornographic images and we can take care of this for $500.”

“It quotes even United States criminal code statutes of what’s been violated,” said Frank Watkins, an investigator with the Coffee County, TN Sheriff’s Office.

The ransomware child porn scam works on many people because they are too afraid of the consequences of having child pornography to go to the police. “How am I going to explain this on my phone and come up with the story of, hey, somebody took over my phone and planted these images,” Watkins said.

Watkins says that, so far, the hackers have been difficult to track down, but says that anyone who is a victim of this scam should not pay, and it is unlikely that the hackers will be able to unlock your phone. Unfortunately, the scammers probably already have much of your personal information.

Romanian security vendor Bitdefender said that the ransomware scam will likely spread next year, primarily through social media. Bitdefender chief security strategist Catalin Cosoi reminds everyone to keep their antivirus software up to date. “Keeping all other software up-to-date also helps minimize vulnerabilities on your system that scammers can exploit. Needless to say, paying the ransom doesn’t guarantee that cyber-criminals will unlock the computer. The only secure option is to permanently remove the malicious files from the system.”

“Though many have started to integrate antivirus solutions and hired qualified teams of security experts, there is always room for cyber-criminals,” he added. “We expect stronger ‘team work’ between social networks, users and the IT security industry in the years to come.”

The Strom Law Firm Can Help with Child Porn Charges in South Carolina

In the age of the internet, social networking sites including Facebook and Myspace, and internet chat rooms have become a frequent forum for law enforcement posing as an underage minor.  A person who appears to be a minor, talks and presents themselves as a minor may actually be an agent running an online sting. If you attempt, ask or communicate your desire to engage in sexual activity after the “child’s” age is made clear, even if you never meet, you can be charged with online criminal solicitation of a minor.

Under South Carolina law, you can be force to serve up to 10 years for online child solicitation.

Getting charged for possessing child pornography can ruin your personal and professional reputation. If you have been accused of possessing or distributing child pornography, you need an attorney who will take your side, guide you through the legal system and fight to protect your rights.

Charges may include:

Being caught with child pornography on your computer usually implies that you intentionally downloaded the pornography and purposefully viewed it. However, we understand that that is not necessarily true. The South Carolina Criminal defense attorneys at the Strom Law Firm will aggressively fight to defend your rights and provide you with the best child pornography defense. We offer free, confidential consultations to discuss the facts of your case, so contact us today. 803.252.4800.

 

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