Sextorso (from the English term sextorsion) is the term that designates the practice of extortion from the threat of exposing alleged sexual photos or videos of victims on the Internet. Criminals urge people to disclose the material to friends and relatives if the person does not fulfill the requested request within a short period of time. Sometimes scammers have no compromising content on their hands, but they use quite convincing mechanisms to make them really believe in the scam.
READ: Scam seduces users to steal even money; understand
In July, 13,000 more complaints were reported to the FBI than in the previous month about sextorso cases, but it is suspected that this number is even greater, as many victims, frightened by the threat, perform the favor demanded by the scammer and do not seek assistance with the authorities. Despite being a common practice, the word is not so popular among users of the network. Sextorso can be done by hackers, but also by ex-partners or any person with whom sexting has occurred (sending messages and images of sexual content). Payment can be charged in cash, cryptocurrencies or even with sexual or loving favors, depending on the case.
Online sextorso cases can be just bluffs; learn how to protect yourself Photo: Luciana Maline / TechTudo
Want to buy cell phones, TV and other discounted products? Meet Compare TechTudo
Different ways of acting
With the popularization of smartphones, it was easier to exchange photos and videos over the Internet. Among the youngest, it is common practice to send nudes not only to boyfriends, but to friends or people known only in the virtual environment. The files shared during these conversations, made through messengers like WhatsApp or Messenger, can end up in the hands of malicious people who not always received the content originally.
It is worth remembering that, depending on the device, criminals can gain access to files from stolen cell phones. In addition, if the user automatically saves all photos received in the cloud and has his password stolen, these images can also be exposed. There is still the risk of porn revenge (revenge porn, in Portuguese), when those who do not conform to the end of a relationship threaten to share images of the ex-partner or partner in intimate moments.
Users should be alert on social networks for traps spread by scammers on platforms. For example, be suspicious of strangers who send you friendship invitations for no apparent reason. From a conversation, they can show off on a video call and encourage them to do the same. This video can then be captured and the scammer threatens to share it with friends and relatives in exchange for money.
Criminals charge for not publishing intimate images of the victims Photo: Pond5
Some of the scams practiced by cybercriminals involve sexual blackmail. The bandits profit from the innocence of the victims, who believe that they have intimate files. In July, hackers sent messages stating that they had video of people while accessing adult content sites, and threatened to share it with their friends if they failed to pay $ 1,400 in 24 hours.
The threat seemed realistic because it included an old password used by the blackmailer in the message. The website specialized in security KrebsOnSecurity informed, at the time, that the coup must have been carried out semi-automatically. It is likely that an attacker created a script that captured usernames and passwords from some leaked file approximately a decade ago. Thus, everyone who had passwords compromised in the leak received the email.
In October, the security researcher known on Twitter as SecGuru discovered a similar crime. The hackers claimed to have hacked the email account by allegedly sending a message from the victim's own email. In reality, they used a feature that "made up" the actual shipping address. As in the previous scam, the bandits requested payment in bitcoins so that a video of the person was not displayed when accessing a pornographic content page.
Hackers use convincing tools to make victims believe they have photos or videos of themselves Photo: Pond5
How to avoid falling for the scam
According to the Comparitech website, the number of sexual extortions has increased: in July, 13,000 more complaints were made to the FBI than in the previous month. However, it is believed that many of the cases are not even registered, since frightened victims can make the payment and fail to communicate to the responsible authorities.
In order not to fall into a sextorso scheme, it is ideal to avoid sharing photos and videos of sexual content through e-mail or messengers, especially with strangers or little-known people. It is also recommended to avoid keeping this type of content on your device or saving it to the cloud, since, in the event of theft of the device or the service user password, they can be accessed by third parties.
It is also important to always have an antivirus installed and updated on your computer and, preferably, keep the webcam covered and turned off while it is not being used.
Online campaigns offer assistance to sextorso victims Photo: Melissa Cruz Cossetti / TechTudo
I was a victim of sextorso, now what?
The National Crime Agency of the United States offers some tips for those who suffer from this type of scam. The first suggestion is that the person does not panic and contact the responsible authorities. If there is one in your state, look for a police station to combat and repress cyber crimes.
The Agency also requests that any contact with the criminal be cut off, and asks to take a print of all the previous conversation. The payment requested should also not be made and it is recommended that the user preserves as much evidence as possible, such as address of the Facebook profile, Skype account, email address.
Safe Tracker works or scam? Find out in the TechTudo forum.
What ransomware: five tips to protect yourself