Law enforcement has arrested a man for having waged an "extensive, multi-faceted" cyberstalking campaign against his former roommate for more than a year.
On 6 October 2017, the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Massachusetts announced the arrest of 24-year-old Ryan S. Lin of Newton. Lin is accused of harassing and stalking Jennifer Smith, a 24-year-old woman with whom he used to live.
Beginning in April 2016, Lin allegedly took it upon himself to make Smith suffer through a living hell. Among other things, he reportedly created a collage of sexually-themed photographs that appear to involve Smith and sent them to hundreds of people, including her roommates, co-workers, and 13-year-old sister. He is also said to have sent child abuse images to Smith's family.
Not only that, but Lin allegedly also doxxed Smith (including her passwords), posed as Smith on sexual encounter websites, and sent messages threatening to blow up local schools.
Needless to say, Waltham Police Chief Keith D. MacPherson was pleased to bring Lin to justice. As quoted in a statement released by the U.S. Attorney's Office:
"I want to thank the Waltham Police Detectives and the FBI Investigators who worked so diligently to bring this party to justice. I also want to thank the Superintendent and the Waltham School Department for their efforts working in conjunction with law enforcement. I also want to recognize the Waltham Police Department Safety Officer and the School Resource Officers for their hard work ensuring the safety of our school children and faculty. This has been a lengthy and complex investigation involving many agencies and remains ongoing. We appreciate the patience and understanding of those in our community who were affected by these criminal acts and thank those who have allowed us to work towards the best result possible in our attempts to put an end to these disruptions."
Police arrived on Lin's doorstep after connecting threats and harassing statements he had made to Smith in person with what the young woman reported to have experienced online.
The FBI has since analyzed Lin's work computer, which he used for some of his targeted activities, and claims to have found several bits of incriminating evidence, including "artifacts" of bomb threats made to local schools, an artifact showing that someone with the username "RLin" had used an anonymous texting service called TextNow, and his use of PureVPN.
Logs collected by PureVPN show that someone accessed two of Lin's email accounts from the same WANSecurity IP address. Meaning? It's not looking good for Lin.
If convicted, Lin could spend five years in prison and the subsequent three years on supervised release.
There's something else to note here, too: PureVPN's records helped the FBI build a case for Lin's arrest.
I can only hope that individuals considering cyberstalking another person read this story and reconsider their plans. One way or another, you would get caught. Even more poignantly, causing another person that much pain won't fill whatever void with which you're grappling. No matter how many people you might hurt, you'll feel no better afterwards. You'll probably feel a hell of a lot worse once you find yourself behind bars for several years.
So please realize that now and deal with those issues... before it's too late.