Sextortion: What it is and How to Protect Yourself

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Sextortion is a growing cyber threat. Hackers try to extort money or sexual favors by threatening to reveal their private data. Next, we explain how to avoid these deceptive attacks.

One of the increasingly widespread forms of cybercrime is sexual distortion. Sextortion is when someone threatens to publicly disclose private or confidential information about you online if it does not provide you with things of a sexual nature. These may include compromising images or real sexual favors. In some cases, they may be using sexual images that you have already provided to extort him.

What makes this form of online extortion fall into the category of sextortion is when the threat or demand is sexual. nature.

Both victims and perpetrators of sextortion can be gender. One of the reasons why sexual distortion is so effective is because most of the time the victim is ashamed of falling into the trap in the first place. However, there are ways to get out of the situation if you get caught in one of these scams. There are also ways to protect yourself from becoming a victim.

Types of Sextortion

The best way to protect yourself from being a victim of this scam is to understand how and why people fall in love with them. The following are some examples of the types of sextortion cases that have occurred, according to the FBI.

Using threats to obtain more videos or photos

Many perpetrators gain the trust of hundreds of children online. They used game platforms and chat applications to contact the children and engaged in conversation with them.

 children chatting on the phone

After gaining their trust, the criminal then coerces the child to send a slightly compromising photo or video. Usually, this is presented as a form of flattery or flirtation. Other times they even offer money to start getting the material.

After the child makes the mistake of sending a photo, the criminal begins to threaten to share the last one with family and friends. Or posting the images or videos on pornographic websites online. Each threat produces an even more explicit photo until the child feels that there is no way to escape the situation.

These situations can be life threatening. On September 18, 2017, Tevan Randall Tobler, 16, took his own life after being threatened with social shame when a woman from Ivory Coast threatened to share her engaging photos online.

Catfishing in online dating applications

Another tactical scam that artists use to exploit victims is to publish fake and attractive profiles in dating applications to attract victims. Once the victims make contact with the criminal, the criminal uses psychological tactics to attract the victim to what they believe is a real, long-distance love story.

 a man chatting online

In each scenario, the story is completely false.The profile is completely false, and the victim too often It is left with an empty bank account.

Hacking partner accounts les or webcams

Many teenagers today have no qualms about posting compromising photos of themselves on their social media accounts. These teenagers have a false sense of security that the privacy settings they place on these photos so that only a few friends can see the photos will really work.

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Unfortunately, hackers are always one step ahead. These types of criminals combine two types of crimes into one; piracy of social networks and sextortion.

The approach is simple. The hacker will hack the teenager's social account and download all the compromising photos. There have also been cases in which the hacker can directly hack the computer camera or monitor in the teenager's room. The hacker uses that camera to capture compromising photos.

Then, the criminal will contact the teenager and threaten to publish those photos on pornographic websites. Or they will threaten to email them to friends and family.

This effort to embarrass a teenager usually works. The criminal will then demand additional photos or videos, or money.

Phishing scams that demand payments

One of the fastest growing forms of sextortion is phishing scams by email. According to Symantec, from January to May 2019, Symantec blocked the sending of almost 289 million of these emails to the inboxes of potential victims.

 phishing rates by email in 2019

I just wanted to let you know that I hacked your computer and did a full dump of your hard drive.

When reviewing your files, I discovered your libr Full address eta, your internet viewing history and many photos. [19659008] I am surprised how perverted you are. Your browsing history is one of the strangest I've seen. I am sure that all your family and friends would love to see what they have been seeing online!

I could easily delete all these files, but I'm not going to do that until you give me a miserable $ 850 for my silence. I want me to deposit the amount in bitcoin using Coinbase in my bitcoin wallet: 1HkkPmYfhrdPhsiolwT4oOSw

If I don't receive the payment at midnight this Friday, all your family and friends will see what you have been online!

$ 850 is not much compared to the shame I am sure you would feel if this came out.

The tactic is generally the same. And it's funny to the trained eye. The scammer invents an elaborate story with the hope that you will believe it. Usually, no details included. The scammer hopes that you have seen inappropriate material online and that you are ashamed to see it released.

Never make a payment if you ever receive a phishing email from sextortion like this! [19659010] Protection against sextortion

The crimes of sextortion do not always follow an established pattern. In fact, many of these cases include elements of each of the examples listed above. However, a common issue is that the victim has lowered his guard.

Anyone can be a victim of this crime. It is important to follow the steps that will ensure that you never find compromising photos or videos of yourself on the Internet.

  • Cover the cameras : When you are not using the webcam on your computer, cover it with a sticker or tape.
  • Avoid uploading embarrassing photos : Never store compromising photos of yourself in places that hackers commonly target. These include social media accounts and even your own mobile phone.
  • Hide your face : A common tactic that criminals use is to convince them to participate in a sex video chat. If you believe that the stranger can be a true romantic interest and cannot say no, then at least avoid revealing your face before the camera until you have confirmed that the possible romantic interest is a real person.
  • Tell your parents : If you are a child or a teenager, there is one thing that is always true in all cases. Parents are less likely to get angry if they learn the truth, instead of losing their child. The situation is never as bad as it seems, and adults have many resources available to help them out of a seemingly impossible situation. The police always scare these criminals. You will not get in trouble!
  • Use common sense when you have online dating : Never trust an online dating profile. They are too easy to pretend. Be careful of the photos or videos that you send to anyone you have met on an online dating website until you have met them.
  • Use common sense when going out : Even if you're going offline, there have been too many cases of ex-boyfriends or girlfriends who publish "revenge photos" on the Internet once a relationship ends. Do not send compromising photos of yourself to anyone at any time during the relationship. If you do, no matter how much you trust them, there is always a risk that those images will appear on the Internet one day.
  • Parents: use common sense : all children on the Internet are at risk. More than 70% of cases of sextortion involve children. Protect your child by keeping all computers in common family areas and make sure mobile devices have parental controls installed and enabled to avoid any call or text message to strangers. Contact your mobile service provider for information on the parental controls they offer.

Sextortion is a serious and very common crime. In fact, it is so common that the FBI has published a Sextortion booklet to help parents understand the seriousness of the situation and how to protect their family.

Take the threat seriously and do everything possible to protect yourself and your family from this growing online criminal threat.

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