The Miss Teen USA winner was hacked and had naked pictures stolen from her computer, prompting an FBI investigation that has uncovered dozens of similar instances with young women.
A months-long investigation into the case has yielded a suspect in the hacking of Cassidy Wolf, authorities said this week.
The FBI discussed the investigation this week, which targeted not only Miss Teen USA but also several other women. A spokeswoman for the bureau’s offices in Los Angeles said the investigation was several months old, but wouldn’t go into any further details of the case.
But the Miss Teen USA winner has publicly discussed being hacked, saying she received an anonymous email from someone who said they had pictures taken from the webcam on her computer. The sender tried to extort Wolf in exchange for keeping the pictures private.
The case is similar to another high-profile hacking incident last year where a man released private pictures taken by celebrities, including Scarlett Johansson and Mila Kunis. Authorities said Christopher Chaney, a 35-year-old Florida man, hacked e-mails almost daily for two years to gain access accounts of 50 people in the entertainment industry.
This type of “sextortion” has been on the rise, authorities say. In California a man recently pleaded guilty to coercing 350 women to share naked pictures online.
The man, Karen “Gary” Kazaryan, was able to hack into Facebook and Skype accounts and change passwords to lock the women out. He then searched emails and social media files for naked pictures of the women, using those as bait to get the victim’s friends to share their own naked pictures.
Kazaryan would then reveal himself, using the naked photos they sent as blackmail to make them send even more racy photographs.
In the case of Miss Teen USA being hacked, FBI officials say the suspect has “discontinued” the activity. No charges or arrest have been announced yet, however.