'Manipulative' hacker targeted women and blackmailed them
- Credit: Suffolk police
A 20-year-old man has been jailed for blackmail and hacking crimes against people in Suffolk and neighbouring counties.
Alexander Marsh, of Horseheath Road in Linton, Cambridgeshire, was sentenced to 30 months in prison at Peterborough Crown Court on Monday, July 5.
March had pleaded guilty to 13 counts of hacking, contrary to section 3 of the Computer Misuse Act, two counts of unauthorised access to an account with intent to commit further offences, contrary to section 2 of the Computer Misuse Act, eight counts of blackmail and three counts of voyeurism.
He will be on the sex offenders register for a period of seven years and will be under a Criminal Behaviour Order when he's released.
Detective Sergeant Mark Stratford, of Norfolk & Suffolk Cybercrime Unit, said: "Marsh is a manipulative individual who used a combination of social engineering, threats and sophisticated tools to facilitate his hacking activities.
"Marsh appears to have targeted the social media accounts of young women in order to access their private images and videos.
"He would then attempt to blackmail them, threatening to expose these images to their friends and family, putting his victims through an ordeal of distress and embarrassment. This, understandably, will have had a significant impact on all those involved in this investigation and I would like to thank the victims who bravely came forward.
"I hope that this investigation, and the sentence imposed, serves to demonstrate to all victims, and perpetrators, of this type of cybercrime how seriously these offences are taken.”
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Marsh was found thanks to an 18-year-old woman coming forward on August 14, 2019, who said she had been locked out of her Snapchat account and someone demanded money to release the account back to her.
Her Instagram account had also been hacked, with messages sent to a number of people in her contacts list.
Norfolk & Suffolk Cybercrime Unit launched an investigation and in February 2020 found additional victims whose accounts were hacked, passwords changed and intimate photographs and videos stolen in attempts to blackmail them.
A link was also sent to their contacts that would direct the user back to a false social media log-in page to steal their login.
On February 20, 2020, police tracked Marsh to his student home, arrested him and seized two mobile phones, a tower computer and two external hard drives.
Digital forensics by the cybercrime unit found that he recorded his computer and phone screens while scrolling through hacked social media accounts to steal images.
He also had documents on phishing and details of unsuspecting victims from Suffolk and adjacent counties on his computer.
The offences took place between May 2019 and February 2020.