A man has been jailed for 10 years after using Trojan Horse malware to control teenage girls’ computers and blackmailing them into posing for explicit photographs.
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Adrian Ringland was sentenced to 10 years by Inner London crown court after pleading guilty to a string of offences including blackmail, indecency with a child and “grooming” – cultivating a relationship with a child to facilitate a sexual approach.
Ringland, of Ilkeston, Derbyshire, posed as a teenage boy in internet chatrooms in order to lure girls into conversation. He would then send them a fake photograph – supposedly of his teenaged self - containing the Trojan, which he would then use to gain remote control of his victims’ computers.
He threatened to disclose potentially embarrassing material on the girls’ computers to their parents and friends in order to blackmail them into posing for explicit photographs, and later threatened to send the photos to people on their e-mail address lists.
Ringland scared his victims by demonstrating his control over their computers, making the screen go blank, moving cursors and activating printers.
He was caught after a police operation covering the UK, the US and Canada, sparked by a Canadian girl who complained to her parents about Ringland’s activities.
Ringland pleaded guilty to a total of 20 charges relating to internet abuse, two of indecency with a child, four of hacking, four of blackmail, 10 of making indecent photographs of a child. He also admitted six charges of unlawful intercourse with a child and one of internet grooming.
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