The FBI confirmed today it is investigating a months-old extortion case involving the newly-crowned Miss Teen USA, Cassidy Wolf, and photos.
Laura Eimiller, spokeswoman for the FBI’s Los Angeles office, said she was aware of an FBI investigation into a “sextortion” case involving Miss Teen USA, but she was not able to further discuss details of the case.
Sextortion refers to the blackmail of a victim with the threat to release sexual images or information if the victim does not comply.
Four months before she was crowned Miss Teen USA, Wolf, 19, said she was victimized by a hacker who stole photos from her webcam and tried to extort her, according to an interview with Today.com.
A representative for the teen said she was not available for an interview on the topic since the investigation was ongoing.
Wolf has used her platform as Miss California Teen USA to educate students about cyber crime prevention, according to her profile on the pageant’s website.
Robert Siciliano, a McAfee online security expert, told ABCNews.com preventing cyber crime should begin with making sure Internet users have the most up-to-date antivirus software, browser and operating system.
“It’s through your browser – that is often how your PC gets infected,” he said. “I usually recommend people use Chrome since it automatically updates.”
Each account should have a unique password that is changed at least every six months, he said.
“Strong passwords will be upper case and lower case letters, combined with numbers and sometimes characters,” Siciliano said.
While putting a sticker over a computer webcam may prevent a hacker from spying on a person, Siciliano pointed out that the person would still be able to hear audio.
To be extra safe, he recommended people go to their computer settings and turn off their webcams when they aren’t in use.
“The reason why somebody’s webcam is getting hacked is their antivirus isn’t up to date or their passwords,” he said. “If you do the normal thing you’re supposed to do, your webcam shouldn’t be taken over.”