Everyone’s worst fear is your past coming back to haunt you, much less being threatened to have your nude photos or videos leaked for the world to see online. That is the bases of a new “sextortion” scam plaguing the internet right now. According to the FBI sextortion crimes have become a common occurrence and they don’t discriminate in who they target. Emails claiming to have hacked into your webcam and recorded you watching porn will have a title referencing a current or old password.
Once opened the sender says that unless a ransom is paid in bitcoin, they will release the video for all to see. While scary and alarming to read you can rest assured that this is indeed fake and the only thing this semi-automated email is referencing is a possible data breach from a well-known company that happened years ago. These emails are sent out at random and in no way should be taken seriously. It’s an elaborate phishing scam concocted to take advantage of fearful and gullible individuals, one that has been recycled many times over in some form. Obviously, we all want to make sure we are as protected as possible.
In order to do this, it’s advisable first and foremost to either not take/send nude or compromising images and video of yourself, this may seem obvious but many of us do it with significant others or for work (yes it’s a common thing). If this is the case make sure that you use every precaution possible such as password managers and, if possible, applications that have “secret” options and do not allow the recipient to screenshot or save what you send. Password managers give you a bit of extra security with your email and social media accounts so it’s harder for hackers to get your information. If you believe you have been a victim of a phishing scam or that your security has been compromised you can contact the FBI and alert them to the scam so they can take action.