Cyber voyeur hacked devices to spy on children

A man from Nottingham has been jailed for more than two years after he admitted illegally accessing a number of victims’ devices to spy on them and build a collection of indecent images of both children and adults.

Jan 12, 2022
By Tony Thompson

Robert Davies, 32, came to the attention of National Crime Agency (NCA) investigators in 2019 after he purchased a number of cybercrime tools, including crypters and remote administration tools (RATs).

He was also identified as a customer of weleakinfo, an online marketplace selling stolen credentials, which was taken offline last year following an NCA-led investigation.

Davies was infecting his victims’ phones or computers with malicious software by disguising it with the crypters so their anti-virus protection would not detect it. He then used the RATs to gain remote access to their devices and steal any sexual images (mainly of females) they had stored on there.

On at least one occasion, he used his illegal access to spy on a teenage girl through her webcam, turning the encounter into a number of indecent images. Officers recovered this, along with a further 27 indecent images and videos of children, on his computer.

Davies was also using numerous fake online profiles to mask his identity and contact his victims on various messaging apps, in an attempt to build a relationship with them and attack their devices using links sent through the chats. There was evidence that he had been doing this over a number of years.

In total NCA officers identified and visited more than 30 victims of Davies throughout the course of the investigation.

He was arrested three times between November 2019 and August 2021, each time being charged with further offences as officers analysed his devices and the true scale of his offending came to light.

On September 2, Davies pleaded guilty to 24 Computer Misuse Act offences, voyeurism, three counts of possessing indecent images of children (IIOC), making IIOC and possessing extreme pornographic images.

He was sentenced on Tuesday (January 11) at Nottingham Crown Court to 26 months in prison. He was also placed on the sex offenders’ register, given a ten-year restraining order on five of the victims and a ten-year sexual harm prevention order.

Andrew Shorrock, operations manager from the NCA’s National Cyber Crime Unit, said: “Davies had amassed what can only be described as a cyber criminal’s toolkit. Not only was he using these tools to break in to peoples’ devices, he was using them to spy on his unsuspecting victims and to steal naked images of them for his own sexual gratification.

“Even more disturbing is the fact that at least one of his victims was a teenager and we found a collection of images and videos of child sexual abuse on his computer.

“Increasing the barrier of entry into cybercrime by reducing the availability of, and accessibility to, off-the-shelf tools is a key focus for the NCA. We work with a range of partners to target both criminals and their infrastructure, to ultimately disrupt and deter this type of offending.”

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