The blackmailing plot gets thicker when the extortion gets personal. Scammers are extorting money against the threat of leaking the sensitive photos of the user. Australians are becoming the target of this nasty game. It is almost a vicious cycle as the more money is surrendered to the cybercriminals, the higher their demands get and they become stronger and stronger day by day.
Recently, the Australian Cyber Security Centre has warned the public about this issue, which is called- ‘Sextortion.’ The threat comes in the form of an email. The nature of these emails is very intense and so compelling that blackmail often gets paid off in no time, once the victim uses the password. These emails are way dangerous than old scam emails.
The moment the victim opens up the email, the user’s computer blares up with the message that it has been infiltrated. In the email, the blackmailers snide that the attached images are of the user, and therefore threaten them of leaking those images. The fear these emails instill in the users acts as a tool to rip off a handsome amount of money from the victims. The blackmailers play on the insecurities, public shaming, and fear of the user.
The nasty game of bluff-
In a way, it is a blind bluff. Victims sometimes fall prey to these tactics and sometimes they emerge stronger. It is highly advisable to use the internet wisely and to be extra careful while sharing your sensitive information, both online and offline.
Scammers of sextortion use mind-numbing tricks to rope in money from victims. Otherwise, how do you think they will have the victims’ sensitive images and the password of their computers? We are not saying that hacking one’s password is impossible, but it is important to understand that these emails are but a cheap scam, that comes in the high robes of sextortion. After all, what fear a man would have, who have never carelessly shared sensitive images of him? To him, such emails would be a mere joke, right?
How do scammers get the victims’ passwords?
These days to use any of the online services, or any app, the first thing the online platform asks of is to register with them with a password. If that app or that online service gets hacked, it is easy for the hacker to get anyone’s password who is using the service. Based on such cheap hacks, these blackmailers choose their targets to threat them for money.
This gives us even stronger reasons as to why different passwords should be used for different platforms, and why the passwords should be difficult to crack. And the old advice of using the internet carefully never withers off.
The threat of cracking into the victim’s password by the hacker makes the sextortion more convincing and compelling to give in.
Australia is not the only target-
Yes, this phenomenon of sextortion has surfaced Australia very recently, but in no way is a brand new way to blackmailing. And it is not only Australia, which is the sole target. In this day and age of internet, blockchain technology where boundaries are dissolving, how difficult is it for these blackmailers to travel from one corner of the world to another?
Some tips that go handy are:
- To visit only secure sites,
- To keep a different password for different sites,
- To never to share your sensitive information,
- To use strong anti-virus, keeping away from the luring online offers that are too good to be true, and so on.
The most important advice which is often taken lightly is to use common sense. People often end up trusting online fake promises by succumbing to the attractions made in fake emails or anywhere else.
What if you are a victim of sextortion?
No matter how afraid you are, DO NOT FEED MONEY TO THE BLACKMAILERS. Step up your fear and deny the demands of the sextortionist. Let the scammer starve to death by paying no attention, no time, and of course, no money.
- Understand that these emails are fake and are playing on your fear.
- If you choose fear, soon you will find yourself pouring endless amounts of money into the black hole like demands of the user.
- The sextortion emails often demand money through untraceable payment methods such as gift cards, cryptocurrency Payments, etc. It is a major sign that the scammer is afraid of getting caught. And remember only that person gets afraid of getting caught, who is doing something wrong. So instead of letting the sextortion email strike fear in you, laugh at the petty attempt of scammers to bluff you!
- The moment you get any such emails, the best response is to delete them straight away.
- If the scammer does have your real passwords and threatens you based on them, go to those online accounts and change your passwords, and additionally add two-step verification log-in method. Also, report to the concerned app, or website about such threat so that they blacklist such hackers and take the due action.
- If the scammer continues to threaten you, feel no fear in informing the cybercrime police about it and let the police take due action on the stubborn hacker.