Director Choi Jin-seong’s documentary thriller “Cyber Hell: Exposing An Internet Horror” brings forth one of the ever-increasing digital crimes in which anonymous internet users run sex crimes by coercing young girls and women into sending explicit videos. This true-crime documentary is based on the Nth Room sexual abuse scandal reported between 2018 and 2020 in South Korea.
The documentary on Netflix reveals several chilling stories that shocked South Korea in which several online chatrooms created by anonymous users stream and sell private videos and images of young women. As revealed later in a long investigation, chat room operators first used to steal the girls’ personal information and then blackmail them into recording and sending more degrading images and videos of themselves.
All these were happening on the Telegram messaging platform. It was first reported by Kim Wan, a journalist for the Korean newspaper The Hankyoreh, who was tipped off about one of the perpetrators named “Baksa” who used his Nth Room to commit the crime of circulating sexually explicit content. Strange as it may sound, there was a large number of users who had joined the chat rooms and purchased the content by paying in cryptocurrency. This, in a sense, was revealing the dirty side of society.
“Cyber Hell” recounts a few horrific incidents, and follows undercover journalists, a few brave victims, cybercops, and a group of hackers who got together to expose not only “Baksa” but also another user “GodGod.” These two offenders were committing disgusting cases of violence against the women while a section of the society was revealing its true nature as they were paying to access this pornographic content.
This whole network functioned like an organized crime in which those involved were not dealing directly with others which made it even more difficult to track the perpetrators while the encrypted messaging service, Telegram, left not much scope for the investigators. Nevertheless, it was indeed their determination to eventually track down the culprits and put them behind the bars.
“Cyber Hell: Exposing An Internet Horror” is scary and disturbing when we think about the worst side of the internet as it is filled with disgusting people. Typically, cybercriminals with advanced knowledge of computer networks and hacking steal confidential information about others and perform illicit activities. These online abusers often take disadvantage of our legal system and a not-so privacy-oriented or secured internet system to commit such crimes.
Hopefully, films like this will raise awareness for people to be more vigilant in their online activities, and at the same time our governments to tighten our legal system to protect people online. As it’s based on true incidents, “Cyber Hell: Exposing An Internet Horror” is uncomfortable to watch but it certainly leaves its impact.