An online predator and hacker has been breaking into Aussie women’s social media accounts and threatening to send explicit photos of them to their friends and families. And, it appears this person has been up to the same gross tricks since at least 2019.
Choreographer and director Madison Lee first became aware of the presence of this hacker after he accessed the Facebook account of one of her friends, pretending to be her.
“I realised the hacking had occurred after a friend of mine posted a story on her Instagram warning women that someone had hacked her account and was posing as her,” Lee told PEDESTRIAN.TV.
“I had only just had communication with her 5 minutes before and although the questions they had asked me were a little off-brand, it didn’t seem too outrageous that this friend had sent these messages.
“It was only when I saw she had been hacked that I immediately went back onto my Facebook and the hacker had messaged me with a blackmail request and threat. My heart immediately dropped,” she continued.
“The hacker was able to access all my messages from Facebook messenger and was therefore able to find details such as my address and photos I had sent to friends which included explicit pictures and all conversations.”
Under the guise of her friend’s account, Lee was sent threatening messages which demanded an immediate Skype call, or else explicit images that the hacker had retrieved from her Facebook messenger account would be sent to her friends and family.
According to Lee, the hacker used a timer system, which resulted in the leaking of another explicit image for every minute of non-compliance.
“The threats made were blackmailing us to send explicit pictures of ourselves to our contact list. The hacker gave me a 5-minute timer to meet him on Skype – after each minute I didn’t comply he released an explicit picture of me to a random male on my Facebook contact list,” Lee said.
According to Lee, attempts to get into contact with NSW Police were met with dismissal, and general apathy.
“The response from the police was woeful… I was made to feel like my claims weren’t worthy and [experienced] victim shaming. The male officer on the other end of the phone said to me ‘So what do you want me to do about it’, as I was crying to him on the phone,” Lee said.
Taking matters into her own hands, Lee has formed a support group online filled with similarly affected women, and so far the group has amassed 11 members.
“So far there is 11 of us however as we have been trying to warn other women via Instagram; many more have come forward with similar stories. The unfortunate thing is, every woman has said the same thing – no one took them seriously and brushed them aside. “
According to a 2019 article by MamaMia, incredibly similar messages were being sent to Aussie women on Facebook through their friend’s accounts two years ago as well.
This would imply that whoever is behind this, or someone using an almost-identical form of blackmail, has been at this for a while.
In one 2019 message obtained by MamaMia, the hacker writes:
“Trouble is, women think they have more purpose than breeding. We let them think they’re of importance, giving them jobs men could do much better, whilst men progress the human species.”
So yeah, from that language it certainly appears that the hacker is some fucked male incel who, judging by the location of women he is targeting, is based in Australia.
The problem for Lee and others is that in their experiences of online sexual assault, nobody is helping them and believing their stories, making them feel powerless in a rather horrifying situation.
“Between the large group of women that this has happened to; no one has listened to us and nothing has been done about it,” said Lee.
“These sexual predators are still out there exploiting us and other women and no one has had our back. Enough is enough, it’s time to listen to the victims of sexual assault.”
“We are made to feel victim-shamed about our bodies and we should hide but we have every right to be proud of our bodies. Using the female body against us as revenge porn is sick and disturbing and women should never have to stand for it,” she continued.
“Of course please be careful, change your passwords, check in with friends if things seem off, but know – you did nothing wrong and this is not a reflection of you!”
If you or someone you know has been affected by hacks of a similar nature, don’t be afraid to reach out to those close to you, and report them via Facebook.
Recording, sharing, or threatening to share an intimate image without consent is a criminal offence across much of Australia.
If you’d like to report image-based abuse to police or get help removing an intimate image from social media, reach out to the Australian eSafety Commissioner here.
If you’d like to speak to someone about image-based abuse, please call the 1800 Respect hotline on 1800 737 732 or chat online.
Under 25? You can reach Kids Helpline at 1800 55 1800 or chat online.