RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR) -- Web cams, phone cams, they’re seemingly everywhere these days--allowing you to keep in touch with family and friends from afar.
However, for dozens of women in California, these cameras became an unwelcome visitor. Police say Jared James Abrahams, a 19-year-old computer science student, victimized women by secretly taking control of their computers and snapping pictures of them while they changed out of their clothes.
One of his victims was Miss Teen USA, Cassidy Wolf.
Abrahams attorney and family admit he had what they call "slave computers,” that he controlled and used to blackmail the women by telling them to strip for him on Skype or he'd post the naked pictures on social media. “
Surprisingly, it's easy. Pretty much anyone who is interested in playing with computers, given enough time, can find the software,” says Mark Creery, President of Date Directions in Mechanicsville.
He says it becomes even easier because we're quick to click the okay button, granting malicious software and apps access to our pictures and camera.
“You want to be very careful when you download software to only use the authorized sites, so Google Plus for androids and the Apple store for iPads and iPhones,” says Creery.
Creery tells CBS 6’s Lorenzo Hall, turning off your computer or phone won’t keep you from becoming a victim.
He says his low-tech solution is to simply cover your cameras with tape when not in use.
“Over time, you'll see more and more of these threats, so, you need to protect yourself,” says Creery.