Sun | Jan 22, 2017

Hackers beware

Published:Saturday | September 1, 2012 | 12:00 AM
From left: Acting SSP Clifford Chambers, acting head of the Organised Crime Investigation Division (OCID), DSP Dwight Daley and Inspector Warren Williams field questions during a press conference at OCID's downtown Kingston offices yesterday.-Ricardo Makyn/Staff Photographer

Livern Barrett, Gleaner Writer

A number of websites have now popped up on the radar of Jamaican cybercrime investigators.

This disclosure yesterday by acting Senior Superintendent Clifford Chambers came after the police filed criminal charges against a man they described as "the main player" in a computer hacking scheme that targeted persons with sexually explicit photos loaded on to personal electronic devices.

"There are other sites which are under investigation and there are reasons to believe that these other sites we are looking at are associated with the person in custody," said Chambers, who is the acting head of the Organised Crime Investigation Division (OCID).

He declined to say the number of websites being investigated, but said "as soon as it is more definitive we will get it out to the media".

Chambers, who was speaking at a press conference at OCID's downtown Kingston offices, said 27-year-old Ronald Oates was arrested at his home on Monday following months of surveillance and intelligence-gathering by detectives.

Oates has been charged with several offences under the Cybercrimes and Larceny Acts and is scheduled to appear in the Corporate Area Resident Magistrate's Court on Wednesday.

Chambers said during a search of Oates' home, the police found computers, cellphones, wireless modems, thumb drives and telephone SIM cards.

forensically examined

"These items were forensically examined and a wide array of pornographic photographs and videos were seized, some of which are related to complaints which were made here (at OCID), others we hear in the media," he said.

Deputy Superintendent Dwight Daley, who is the head of operations at OCID, said already 25 victims have come forward.

However, Daley said the investigation has revealed that "hundreds" of persons were targeted.

He said the majority of the victims were in Kingston and St Catherine, but stretch as far as Manchester.

Investigators outlined how Oates allegedly used an elaborate scheme to gain access to the email accounts of his victims then informed them that nude photos were taken from the accounts and demanded between $10,000 and $20,000 not to publish them on the Internet.

"He would also invite persons who want to expose others to upload pornographic pictures and videos of these persons to the blogs he created," the acting OCID head alleged.

The Star first reported earlier this year that several persons, including a Jamaican entertainer, had complained that they had been contacted by the operators of a website who demanded money to return sexually explicit photos removed from their computers.

Man arrested at home following months of intelligence-gathering by detectives