Progress by police in N.B. online sexual exploitation case promising: Beauceron CEO

Steady progress by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police in pursuing the lead suspect in a horrific online sexual exploitation case that targeted a young woman at the University of Moncton shows police are actively pursuing the case and is a promising sign, says Beauceron Security CEO David Shipley. 

Shipley was interviewed by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation about the case, which began in March 2017 and resulted in 10 malicious e-mails featuring graphic sexual photos and links to explicit videos that victimized one particular student at the university.

The e-mails were distributed to thousands of students, faculty and staff in what Shipley believes is the single-worst institutional case of online sexual exploitation yet seen by the public, at least in Canada and perhaps even internationally. 

The RCMP told the CBC they are actively working with police and officials in Morocco to pursue the suspect. 

"That is encouraging that they are actually working with authorities in Morocco," says Shipley. "That is not the norm."

Shipley notes many, if not most, online sexual exploitation cases are never reported to police and fewer still result in successful prosecutions. The successful conclusion of this case could send an important message to others who would consider committing such crimes against others.

Chasing down cybercrimes that cross international borders is also extremely difficult due to a lack of a comprehensive global cybercrime treaty, Shipley says.

The full story can be found at CBC New Brunswick.

Staying safe

Protecting yourself from online sexual exploitation is often difficult as many of these crimes are perpetrated by people known to the victims, says Shipley. 

People should be extraordinarily careful with whom the share sensitive personal images or videos, he says, noting that critical steps include securing mobile devices with passwords and using multi-factor authentication (username, password and an additional item such as an authorizing app on a smartphone) for any online services where sensitive personal information or content is being stored.