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Miss Teen USA webcam hacker Jared James Abrahams sentenced to 18 months in prison

The 20-year-old hacker threatened girls and women with nude photos of them he had secretly taken
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A university student from the US was sentenced to 18 months in prison on Monday, after he hacked into the webcams of girls and women to take nude photos of them.

20-year-old Jared James Abrahams gained control of his victims' webcams, including that of Miss Teen USA, and took pictures of them while they were undressed in their rooms.

Abrahams then contacted the girls or women and threatened to post the pictures on their social media accounts unless they sent more, or undressed for him on Skype.

The case came to light after Miss Teen USA Cassidy Wolf said that Jared James Abrahams, who had been her classmate at a high school in Temecula, California, had victimized her.

According to the criminal complaint, one of Abrahams' victims, who was 17-year-old girl at the time, told Abrahams that she was downloading Skype to comply with his demands but asked him to “have a heart” because of her age.

He responded: “I'll tell you this right now! I do NOT have a heart!!!”

In addition to12 girls listed in the criminal complaint, Abrahams also hacked into the computers of some 100 to 150 other people, prosecutors say.

Abrahams faced up to 11 years in federal prison if convicted of all of the charges against him at trial.

The student pleaded guilty in November to extortion and computer hacking.

At his sentencing during a hearing in US District Court in Santa Ana he apologized to the victims.

“[He] acknowledged the violation and the severity of his conduct,“ his defence lawyer Alan Eisner said.

Eisner said Abrahams' parents also spoke at the hearing, and asked the judge to take into account their son's age and struggles with Asperger's syndrome.

"Certain people are motivated by different things, and Jared's motivation we believe was not meant to be predatory or evil,“ Eisner added.

"We will acknowledge that that is the result, but his motivation was substantially to have social connections he was simply incapable of having."

Additional reporting by Reuters