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Sextortion: extortion attempt phenomenon is on the rise and prevention is the best medicine

The attempted extortion through the threat of publishing false images with sexual content of the victim is increasing and the alert from the National Cybersecurity Center (CNC). Known as sextortion, the phenomenon is occurring more frequently, especially through an email in which the contact guarantees to have compromising images of the victim.

At a time when the COVID-19 pandemic is leading to an increase in the popularity of sexting, and with it, an increase in dangers, the CNC explains the strategy of this type of sextortion. To increase the credibility of the message, the malicious agent indicates that he has the password for a victim's email account, sometimes true. In some cases, the password can be obtained from user account databases that are unlawfully disclosed online.

In view of this increase in cases, the Center advises Internet users not to make any payment to the malicious agent. If the password that the hacker divulged in the email is the right one, the user must change it in all accounts where it is used, from online shopping sites or email.

In order to better manage passwords, the CNC recommends the use of a user and password management application, such as KeePass, ensuring that "preventing the best remedy". Finally, the National Cybersecurity Center highlights the importance of the victim reporting such cases to criminal authorities.

The CNC also recalls that sextortion can happen through other means, when, for example, a victim shares private messages on social networks, videos or intimate photos, and is then threatened with the sharing of these contents. "If a payment request is made, do not make it, and report the situation to the Criminal Authorities", reinforces the Center, which advises users not to share these contents via the Internet.

This Tuesday, the Center launched yet another alert, this time related to banking institutions. As the CNC explains, credential-seeking smishing passes for services in this sector.

Most popular sexing in pandemic, but not all romantic

Isolation has led to a boom in the use of dating applications. For example, Tinder, which recently decided to open virtual borders so that users from all over the world could more easily talk to each other, recorded a record 3 billion swipes in early April. Match, the parent company of Tinder and apps like Hinge, recently revealed that users in the countries most affected by the pandemic have become more active than before and that the duration of virtual conversations has increased from 10% to 30%.

The truth is that sexting can have several associated dangers. Beyond the real boom in dating apps and the sharing of nudes, the number of users trying to convince others to leave in the middle of the pandemic for a more scalding something perfectly normal.