Teen accused of 'sinister' Facebook sex extortion plot

31 victims fooled by bogus profile


An 18-year-old male student from Wisconsin has been accused of posing as a female on Facebook in a plot to trick at least 31 male classmates into sending nude pictures of themselves and then using the images to blackmail them into performing sex acts.

Anthony Stancl of New Berlin was charged Wednesday with five counts of child enticement, two counts of second-degree sexual assault of a child, two counts of third-degree sexual assault, possession of child pornography, repeated sexual assault of the same child, and making a bomb threat. He faces a maximum sentence of 293 years in prison if convicted.

"The kind of manipulation that occurred here is really sinister in my estimation," a prosecutor told the Associated Press.

Stancl plans to plead not guilty, his attorney told the news agency.

The allegations are the latest graphic example of the heap of trouble waiting for naive teens who send sexually explicit images of themselves over the email or text messages. Last month, six high school students in Pennsylvania were charged under state child pornography statutes for sending and receiving nude images of each other using cell phones. Last year, a 15-year old girl was arrested on felony child pornography charges for allegedly sending nude pictures of herself to classmates.

According to a criminal complaint filed Wednesday, Stancl used a bogus Facebook profile to contact boys at his high school and trick them into sending nude photos of videos of themselves. Thirty-one victims were identified, and more than half said the female - who called herself Emily or Kayla - tried to get them to meet a male friend of hers and engage in sex with him. The extortion scheme happened from Spring 2007 through November.

The female told them she would send the incriminating images to their friends and post them on the internet if the victims refused. Stancl used the threats to repeatedly force the victims to perform sex acts.

The complaint identified seven boys by their initials as having to engage in sex with Stancl. The student took pictures of the encounters on his cell phone. Some of the victims were as young as 15.

Police learned of the alleged plot while investigating Stancl as a suspect in a bomb threat that was made to his school in November. Police say they found some 300 nude images of juvenile males on his computer.

He is being held on $250,000 bail because police consider him a flight risk. They also consider him dangerous because he allegedly left a note on the car window of one of his victims, threatening him for speaking to the police. The Associated Press article is here. ®


Other stories you might like

  • It's 2022 and there are still malware-laden PDFs in emails exploiting bugs from 2017
    Crafty file names, encrypted malicious code, Office flaws – ah, it's like the Before Times

    HP's cybersecurity folks have uncovered an email campaign that ticks all the boxes: messages with a PDF attached that embeds a Word document that upon opening infects the victim's Windows PC with malware by exploiting a four-year-old code-execution vulnerability in Microsoft Office.

    Booby-trapping a PDF with a malicious Word document goes against the norm of the past 10 years, according to the HP Wolf Security researchers. For a decade, miscreants have preferred Office file formats, such as Word and Excel, to deliver malicious code rather than PDFs, as users are more used to getting and opening .docx and .xlsx files. About 45 percent of malware stopped by HP's threat intelligence team in the first quarter of the year leveraged Office formats.

    "The reasons are clear: users are familiar with these file types, the applications used to open them are ubiquitous, and they are suited to social engineering lures," Patrick Schläpfer, malware analyst at HP, explained in a write-up, adding that in this latest campaign, "the malware arrived in a PDF document – a format attackers less commonly use to infect PCs."

    Continue reading
  • New audio server Pipewire coming to next version of Ubuntu
    What does that mean? Better latency and a replacement for PulseAudio

    The next release of Ubuntu, version 22.10 and codenamed Kinetic Kudu, will switch audio servers to the relatively new PipeWire.

    Don't panic. As J M Barrie said: "All of this has happened before, and it will all happen again." Fedora switched to PipeWire in version 34, over a year ago now. Users who aren't pro-level creators or editors of sound and music on Ubuntu may not notice the planned change.

    Currently, most editions of Ubuntu use the PulseAudio server, which it adopted in version 8.04 Hardy Heron, the company's second LTS release. (The Ubuntu Studio edition uses JACK instead.) Fedora 8 also switched to PulseAudio. Before PulseAudio became the standard, many distros used ESD, the Enlightened Sound Daemon, which came out of the Enlightenment project, best known for its desktop.

    Continue reading
  • VMware claims 'bare-metal' performance on virtualized GPUs
    Is... is that why Broadcom wants to buy it?

    The future of high-performance computing will be virtualized, VMware's Uday Kurkure has told The Register.

    Kurkure, the lead engineer for VMware's performance engineering team, has spent the past five years working on ways to virtualize machine-learning workloads running on accelerators. Earlier this month his team reported "near or better than bare-metal performance" for Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers (BERT) and Mask R-CNN — two popular machine-learning workloads — running on virtualized GPUs (vGPU) connected using Nvidia's NVLink interconnect.

    NVLink enables compute and memory resources to be shared across up to four GPUs over a high-bandwidth mesh fabric operating at 6.25GB/s per lane compared to PCIe 4.0's 2.5GB/s. The interconnect enabled Kurkure's team to pool 160GB of GPU memory from the Dell PowerEdge system's four 40GB Nvidia A100 SXM GPUs.

    Continue reading
  • Nvidia promises annual updates across CPU, GPU, and DPU lines
    Arm one year, x86 the next, and always faster than a certain chip shop that still can't ship even one standalone GPU

    Computex Nvidia's push deeper into enterprise computing will see its practice of introducing a new GPU architecture every two years brought to its CPUs and data processing units (DPUs, aka SmartNICs).

    Speaking on the company's pre-recorded keynote released to coincide with the Computex exhibition in Taiwan this week, senior vice president for hardware engineering Brian Kelleher spoke of the company's "reputation for unmatched execution on silicon." That's language that needs to be considered in the context of Intel, an Nvidia rival, again delaying a planned entry to the discrete GPU market.

    "We will extend our execution excellence and give each of our chip architectures a two-year rhythm," Kelleher added.

    Continue reading
  • Amazon puts 'creepy' AI cameras in UK delivery vans
    Big Bezos is watching you

    Amazon is reportedly installing AI-powered cameras in delivery vans to keep tabs on its drivers in the UK.

    The technology was first deployed, with numerous errors that reportedly denied drivers' bonuses after malfunctions, in the US. Last year, the internet giant produced a corporate video detailing how the cameras monitor drivers' driving behavior for safety reasons. The same system is now apparently being rolled out to vehicles in the UK. 

    Multiple camera lenses are placed under the front mirror. One is directed at the person behind the wheel, one is facing the road, and two are located on either side to provide a wider view. The cameras are monitored by software built by Netradyne, a computer-vision startup focused on driver safety. This code uses machine-learning algorithms to figure out what's going on in and around the vehicle.

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022