Sextortion on the rise.
Welcome to Cyber Security Today. It’s Monday September 6th. I’m Howard Solomon, contributing writer on cybersecurity for ITWorldCanada.com.
For listeners in Canada and the U.S. this is a holiday Monday so I’ll keep this podcast relatively brief.
The number of sextortion complaints made to the FBI keeps going up. These involve nasty people who threaten to spread private and sensitive images of victims if they don’t do something. That includes paying money, sending more sexual images or performing sexual acts. In the first six months of this year the FBI received over 16,000 sextortion complaints. That’s two-thirds of the number of complaints filed all last year. Many victims first meet their tormentors on dating websites and apps. Often the so-called friend moves the conversation to another messaging platform. The relationship starts friendly. Then the so-called friend asks for sexually explicit images or videos. If the victim complies the friend turns blackmailer.
Here’s some advice: Never send compromising images of yourself to anyone, no matter who they are, or who they say they are. You may remember several Hollywood stars were embarrassed in 2014 when someone was able to figure out user names, passwords and answers to security questions of 100 iPhone users who’d taken images of themselves for husbands and partners.
More generally, don’t open attachments from people you don’t know. Links can secretly hack your internet-connected devices using malware to gain access to your private data, photos, and contacts, or control your web camera and microphone without your knowledge.
If you are a victim of sextortion, call your local police department.
That’s it for now Remember links to details about podcast stories are in the text version at ITWorldCanada.com. That’s where you’ll also find other stories of mine.
Follow Cyber Security Today on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts or add us to your Flash Briefing on your smart speaker. Thanks for listening on this holiday weekend. I’m Howard Solomon