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They obtained search warrants for his Internet provider to check activity associated with his e-mail accounts and soon found dozens of victims.
"We could see all of these different communications he had with several different women doing the same thing," Rogers recalls.
At first they figured it was some kind of malfunction, but when it happened repeatedly—the light flicking on, then off—the girls felt a chill. The more ubiquitous cameras become, the less we're aware they're even there. She ran into her bathroom and slammed the door behind her.
"I know you're talking to each other right now! James's throat constricted; how did the stalker know what he was saying? Since its founding in 2002, the program's cyber squads have worked out of a cluttered, bustling office on Wilshire Boulevard, a maze of cubicles that looks more like the office of a video-game company than of a federal agency.
Amy knew it was irrational, but she couldn't help scanning the crowd, looking for her stalker. He, too, had holed up alone, away from family and friends.
He'd even stopped calling Amy, ending their relationship. He had gained remote access to his victims' computers, allowing him to monitor their activity online and to search their hard drives.
But what if they It's a question that James Kelly and his girlfriend, Amy Wright, never thought they'd have to entertain. Amy, a 20-year-old brunette at the University of California at Irvine, was on her laptop when she got an IM from a random guy nicknamed mistahxxxrightme, asking her for webcam sex. Amy told the guy off, but he IM'd again, saying he knew all about her, and to prove it he started describing her dorm room, the color of her walls, the pattern on her sheets, the pictures on her walls. It was like Amy'd slipped into a stalker movie. Amy watched in horror as the picture materialized on the screen: a shot of her in that very room, naked on the bed, having webcam sex with James. The hacker fired off a note to James's ex-girlfriend Carla Gagnon: "nice video I hope you still remember this if you want to chat and find out before I put it online hit me up." Attached was a video still of her in the nude. The campus police were in no position to handle a case like this.
Then the hacker contacted James directly, boasting that he had control of his computer, and it became clear this wasn't about sex: He was toying with them. But the instant she phoned the dispatcher, a message chimed on her screen. Whoever devised the malware—a sophisticated program capable of dodging antivirus software—clearly had a leg up on university cops.