A “caringless” teenager who hacked into women’s Snapchat accounts and used nude photos to blackmail her friends has been sentenced to two years in prison.
Jasin Bushi, 18, “completely violated” his victims’ privacy by hacking into at least seven women’s accounts and changing their passwords to lock them between December 2020 and February last year.
The 18-year-old then posed as the victim and sent messages to his friends asking for money to pay the rent so they wouldn’t be kicked out, demanding between £200 and £300.
Some of the friends noticed something was wrong and called him, but the teenager then threatened to send nude photos of the victim to all of their contacts unless money was deposited into his PayPal account.
On several occasions, intimate images and videos of victims have been publicly posted for viewing by their family, friends and co-workers.
Mr. Bushi denied that he published them and this was accepted by the judge.
“I couldn’t face the people who saw these private pictures”
Police from the Met’s Cyber Crime Unit first got involved in May 2021 and found fake PayPal accounts with fictitious personal information and email accounts linked to victims’ names.
Detectives linked Mr. Bushi to the fake accounts through two cellphone numbers he used.
When officers searched his home address in Camden, north London, they found some of the victim’s compromised personal banking details, email and password on his phone, along with a note that read: “Hey, I’m having trouble with the rent.
“I’m literally tight and I’ll probably get kicked out if I can’t pay. I will pay it back on Monday.”
A victim whose friends, family and colleagues saw the posts said she has suffered a number of negative psychological consequences since her account was hacked.
She said she felt humiliation and shame when facing her family, became socially withdrawn at work and felt that employees had lost respect for her.
She added: “Snapchat was a social media platform that I used to store precious memories of my child’s photos and videos for years and now I get nauseous using the app.
“I had a friend who, thinking she was helping me, lost a significant amount of money in this incident and I owe her a debt of gratitude.
“I was fortunate not to be physically harmed by this incident, but the long-lasting psychological effects hit me every day and I believe that will likely continue to be the case for a long time to come.”
Another victim learned from her coworkers that private intimate pictures of her were posted on Snapchat while she was at work.
She explained: “I was embarrassed, I immediately left the office in tears and had a few days off because I felt like I couldn’t face the people who saw these private pictures.
“The feeling still haunts me when I saw these photos for the first time in my public history, I wouldn’t wish that feeling on anyone.”
Two years in prison
Mr Bushi pleaded guilty to three counts of unauthorized access to a computer to facilitate the commission of a crime, fraud by providing false information, possession of items used in fraud and extortion in Wood Green Crown Court.
He pleaded not guilty to three counts of disclosing private sexual photos or films with intent to cause trouble, but those charges were dropped.
Detective Constable Ed Sehmer, investigating officer for the Met’s Cyber Crime Unit, said: “Bushi completely violated victims’ privacy to make some quick bucks.
“When his deception didn’t work, he resorted to blackmail. He is extremely cruel, callous and it was absolutely devastating for the victims whose intimate pictures were posted publicly.
“I want to thank the victims for bravely helping us with our investigation and I hope Bushi’s conviction will bring them some comfort.
“This type of crime is often underreported because victims often feel shame or embarrassment. There is nothing to be ashamed of.
“I urge everyone to come forward and make a report to the police if this has happened to you. We will give you our full support and treat you with sensitivity and dignity.”
Detective Sehemer advised people to use two-factor authentication to protect their social media accounts from being misused and said passwords shouldn’t be reused across accounts.
He added, “Good password hygiene includes changing passwords regularly, making them long and alphanumeric, and containing uppercase and lowercase letters with special characters.”