Ryan is a cyber stalker.
Ryan was arrested on charges of cyberstalking in October 2017 after it was discovered that he was cyberstalking his former roommate, a 24-year old woman, along with her friends, family, and other acquaintances.
The victim claims that Ryan was involved in hacking and cyberstalking since April 2016. She says that he began hacking into her accounts and stole her photographs, personal diary entries, and personal information. Once Ryan had this information, she says that he sent it to her friends, family, and acquaintances.
On top of this, the female victim also says that Ryan created online profiles using her name and photos, and then used those accounts, pretending he was her, to find sexual partners. She claims that because of Ryan’s actions, strange men began showing up at her home, as Ryan would give them her address. Ryan also did things like use the victim’s photos and information to threaten others, and even went as far as claiming that she was going “shoot up” a school.
Cyber Stalkers Can Cause a Lot of Damage
Many people like Ryan believe that they can use the internet anonymously to terrorize others. They also often believe that they are smarter than law enforcement and will get away with these crimes. The Department of Justice has announced that it is focused on not only identifying and arresting stalkers but prosecuting and punishing them for these actions.
Ryan created a huge cyber stalking campaign where he hacked and harassed his victim. This was terrible for her to go through, but it also used up law enforcement resources. Too many people see hacking and cyber stalking as a prank or harmless, but it is far from it. It is very scary, and it causes the victims to become very frightened. No one should feel unsafe in their school, home, or workplace, yet Ryan made sure that people did, especially his victim. It is the hope of law enforcement that Ryan’s arrest will stop others from doing similar things.
How to Protect Now Against Cyber Stalkers:
Cyber stalkers can be friends, coworkers, former roommates, ex-spouses, ex-lovers or even family members. You won’t know that you’ve invited this misery into your life until the stalking begins, but there are some steps you can take to reduce the risk of becoming a victim.
- Do background checks on roommates. This may not find anything, but it will weed out people with a history of bad behavior.
- Get references. Just like shopping on eBay or Amazon, check the “reviews.”
- Password protect all your devices. Never share those passwords, not even with your child or a spouse.
- Don’t leave passwords where other people can find them. In other words, never store written passwords anywhere, including in files on your devices.
- Use a Virtual Private Network (VPN) to keep your online activity private.
- Password protect all your devices, especially your phone. Don’t share that password with anyone.
- Install a home security system that includes cameras.
- Freeze your credit and get identity theft protection,
Though Ryan’s case is extreme, it started the same way all cyber stalking cases do: An angry person gets access to a victim’s devices. Prevent that from happening, and you can prevent yourself from becoming a victim.
This is not a question of trust, and you should question the motives of anyone who wants access to your passwords. Good cyber security begins by making sure that you and you alone can access your devices and accounts. Something as simple as sharing a Netflix password could put you in jeopardy if you use that same password, or a simple variation of it, anywhere else.
You also need to take action immediately at the first sign of a breach. Stop everything you are doing and change every one of your passwords immediately, sign up for a credit or identity monitoring service and file a police report. Those steps will often stop a stalker in their tracks.
How Did It End?
Ryan was arrested in the state of Massachusetts. Cybercrimes like hacking and cyber stalking fall under the jurisdiction of the federal government. All sentences are given by a federal district court judge, and the sentences are based on both federal sentencing guidelines and other important factors.
Ryan was sentenced to 210 months (over 17 years) in prison and 5 years of supervised release, after pleading guilty in April 2018 to 7 counts of cyberstalking, 5 counts of distribution of child pornography, 9 counts of making hoax bomb threats, 3 counts of computer fraud and abuse and 1 count of aggravated identity theft.