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FBI use rigged video to catch sextortionist hiding behind Tor

26-year-old Buster Hernandez from Bakersfield, California, has been arrested for allegedly running a sextortion operation on minors for the past five years, sending death threats to his victims and to law enforcement, and threatening to use explosives at Plainfield and Danville High Schools in Indiana, announced the US Department of Justice.

Known online as “Brian Kil” and “Greg Martain,” Hernandez is accused of stealing nude images from cloud accounts, tracking the owners and using Facebook to demand more explicit photos. If demands were not met, the victims received death threats. When one of the victims refused to keep up with his scheme, Hernandez posted compromising videos and images of her online.

“I am coming for you. I will slaughter your entire class and save you for last,” read his message to one of his victims.

“I will add a dozen dead police to my tally…Try me pigs, I will finish you off as well,” read a threat he made to law enforcement.

The death threats scared school administrators into closing the schools, but law enforcement guaranteed the threats were not conclusive. The Brownsburg Police Department reached out to the FBI for help in December 2015.

The FBI collaborated with Facebook, who immediately made available the data on the suspect. Because the email was anonymous and the IP was associated to a Tor node, FBI agents posed as one of the victims and in June 2017 were granted permission to use a “Network Investigative Technique.” The FBI made available on Dropbox a video that appeared to have been uploaded by the victim. When Hernandez opened it, an FBI server was contacted and revealed his real IP.

“This was a unique and complex investigation that highlights the tenacity, perseverance, expertise and dedication of the FBI Indianapolis’ Crimes Against Children Task Force and was a top priority. Innovative techniques were utilized, solutions to roadblocks created and partnerships with key private sector partners were developed,” said W. Jay Abbott, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Indianapolis Division.

Hernandez allegedly exploited three victims in Indiana alone, as his victim portfolio spans over 10 federal districts.

He is charged with sexual exploitation of a child, threats to use an explosive device and threats to injure.

If convicted on all counts, Hernandez faces between 15 and 30 years in prison.

About the author

Luana PASCU

From a young age, Luana knew she wanted to become a writer. After having addressed topics such as NFC, startups, and tech innovation, she has now shifted focus to internet security, with a keen interest in smart homes and IoT threats. Luana is a supporter of women in tech and has a passion for entrepreneurship, technology, and startup culture.

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