A Florida man received 10 years in prison related to cyberstalking, unauthorized access to a protected computer, and aggravated identity theft.
Michael Daniel Rubens, 31, formerly of Tallahassee, is not only facing 10 years but is also looking at a $15,000 fine, and $1,550 in restitution for cyberstalking.
Christopher P. Canova, Acting United States Attorney for the Northern District of Florida, handed down the sentence.
While this is more of a criminal case and not related to industrial environment, it is another example of law enforcement is clamping down on cybercriminals.
During his guilty plea on December 3, 2015, Rubens admitted between January 2012 and January 2015, he publicly humiliated dozens of young women by hacking into their online accounts, including email and social media, stealing photographs and other personal information, using the photographs to create pornography, and posting the pornographic images on social media websites and on a revenge pornography website that was recently shut down by the FBI.
Rubens engaged in most of the conduct from his residence in Tallahassee, officials said. He used software to conceal his IP address.
Rubens’ victims included an employee of a local restaurant he frequented, an out-of-town colleague, an acquaintance in his office building, clients of the defendant’s employer, a former girlfriend and her colleagues, high school classmates, and the victims’ relatives or friends.
For one particular victim, Rubens’ laptop contained 470 files with more than 5,000 references to the victim. Rubens’ computer searches focused on finding the victims’ personal identifying information, such as past addresses, family information, and other personal data that could end up used to answer security questions. As a result of his conduct, the victims became afraid to conduct any online activities and often deleted their social media presence entirely. In some instances, the conduct also damaged the victims’ personal relationships.
Urging leniency, Ruben’s counsel argued cyberstalking was not something people thought of as a serious crime. United States District Judge Robert L. Hinkle responded, “Perhaps it’s time they learned.”
“This sentence sends an unequivocal message to anyone tempted to use a computer as a weapon to victimize and steal the identities of others: Expect to be prosecuted,” acting United States Attorney Canova said. “And expect to go to prison.”