Nudes stolen online and distributed, girl hacks back, gets intruder jailed
Natalie Claus is a student at the State University of New York College at Geneseo. She is studying history at this university. Her studies were placed on hold in December 2019 when someone broke into her Snapchat account and sent 116 of her naked images to contacts, many of whom were also SUNY Geneseo students.
However, one of her friends, Katie Yates, identified it as an "online attack" right away and knew how to handle it. Yates attended the same college as Claus at the State University of New York at Geneseo, which is located 40 miles south of Rochester. After Yates reported being sexually assaulted a few months prior, someone started harassing her on social media.
Yates started looking into ways to track down her harasser after feeling like she wasn't receiving enough support on campus. She believed that Claus may benefit from this type of vigilante work. When Claus asked for assistance, the two pals got together, made an effort to de-stress, and started working.
This was an instance of sextortion, which is defined by the FBI as when a perpetrator threatens to release sexually explicit or otherwise sensitive material if a victim doesn't agree with their demands.
Money is the goal of many sextortionists. More than 18,000 sextortion complaints were filed with the FBI's Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) in 2021, resulting in losses of more than $13.6 million. However, some criminals have other motivations, such as the sense of control they get from torturing victims psychologically or obtaining pornographic material for their own use and/or to distribute.
Claus was the victim of a hacker who pretended to be a security guard, alerting her of a breach and misled her into revealing a code that gave him access to her account. He let her in, then locked her out. Snap claimed that after becoming aware of the intrusion, it removed the hacker from Claus' profile in less than 24 hours. Claus claims that as of the end of July, she has still lost access to her account.
The burglar gained access to Claus's "My Eyes Only" app's secret area, which contained naked pictures of Claus that she had taken for herself while trying to recuperate from a rape. He sent out a message with the pictures and the caption, "Flash me back if we're besties."
Claus developed a strategy with Yates' assistance. From her own page, Yates contacted Claus's account and sent a link to some naughty pictures she might want to share. By using a website called Grabify IP Logger, the URL, which was designed to look like a pornographic website, really collected the IP address of everybody who clicked it. A virtual private network, which is so simple that it's remarkable anyone interested in online crime wouldn't be using it constantly, may have been used by the hacker to get around the scheme. He didn't, though. It ended up being a critical error.
In August of 2020, police made an arrest of the person who compromised her account. In exchange for a reduced sentence, 29-year-old David Mondore admitted to illegally accessing a secured computer with the intent to conduct fraud, for which he was given a six-month prison sentence. He admitted to getting illegal access to at least 300 Snapchat accounts.
Claus claims that Mondore was an absolute stranger to Clausher. She says she doesn't think he was a monster, but she thinks his penalty was too lenient.
Claus claimed that although she is afraid, she realises that she has fought for herself but also for everyone who follows in her footsteps.
The horrific incident has devastated her college life for next two years. Claus has gained the courage to share her story two years after the photo was delivered. She expressed the hope that by being open, it will make future encounters with similar circumstances easier for others.