Udayavni Special

India now among the top 10 sextortion email source countries, Here’s how you can protect yourself

Team Udayavani, Apr 27, 2020, 4:35 PM IST

There is a reason why government says that Internet is not always a safe place. You can fall for all types of online scams as there are thousands of criminals who want to steal our most valuable personal data.

Criminals think cybercrime as one of the quickest ways for them to make money. For a hacker, extortion is an easy way to monetize stolen information and provides the shortest path from cybercrime to cash.

Recently, researchers from the British cybersecurity firm Sophos traced the origin of millions of sextortion spam emails sent between September 2019 and February 2020 and concluded that India is in the fifth position.

What is sextortion?

Sextortion is a type of spam attack where cybercriminals extort money by claiming to have personal photographs and videos of the receiver’s sexual activity. The attacker threatens to leak those evidences in the internet.

Types of sextortion

Many perpetrators use gaming platforms and chat applications to make contact with the people and engage in conversation with them.Once they gain trust, they will ask for personal photos and threaten to leak them.

Some of them use photos on social media and then edit the photos using editing softwares.

One of the fastest-growing forms of sextortion is email phishing scams. These emails prey on those who watch  pornography online. The scammer claims to have hacked your computer and obtained evidence of your online activities and demands that you deliver money into their account or they’ll share your activities with your family and friends online.

How to prevent sextortion

When you’re not using the webcam on your computer, cover it with a sticker or tape. Never post compromising photos of yourself on social media accounts or even store them your own mobile phone.

Use caution with what photos or videos you send anyone you have met on an online dating website until you’ve met them.

However, experts claim that if anybody is threatening you then it is better not to engage with the phisher, delete the email and report it to police officials. Do not be tempted to pay the ransom, doing so will likely encourage more scams as the phisher will know they have a ‘willing’ customer.

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