Kaspersky raises the alarm: growing cases of sexual blackmail perpetrated via email. How to recognize them and how to defend yourself
It's called "sextortion" and it's the fusion between the words "sex" and "extortion". Basically, it's the good old extortion scam with a sexual threat. Scam that has been around for years but, according to Kaspersky, in recent times has evolved a bit.
The company that produces the well-known antivirus, in fact, has reported that the scammers (i.e. would-be scammers who carry out the sextortion) have begun to ask for the ransom no longer in bitcoin, but in real money. To be more precise, through prepaid cards, of free sale, connected to the classic international systems such as Visa and Mastercard. Kaspersky is not yet able to say with certainty that this new method will supplant the bitcoin payment, but specifies that the method to defend oneself from sextortion remains the same, whatever the payment method requested by the scammers.
The news comes from Brazil, where some users have received emails in which the scammers claimed to have gained access to the victims' operating system and to have recorded them watching porn videos and masturbating. And, so far, it's the usual sextortion. What changes is that now the scammers ask the victim to go to a Walmart, Hipermerdado Extra, Lojas Americans or other stores where they can buy a prepaid "Acesso Card". That card will then need to be reloaded and photographed, front to back, and then the photos sent to an email address. When the scammer receives the photos, then, he can use the card online and empty it by making purchases or transferring the money elsewhere.
How to defend yourself against sextortion
Although the method of payment changes, the substance of the scam does not change at all: it is absolutely not true that someone has hacked our device, there is no video of us masturbating and the whole threat is based on absolute nothing. These are not even hackers, but simple scammers who have bought a database of email addresses and sent messages all the same (translated with Google Translate or other similar services) to thousands and thousands of people. Out of thousands someone falls for it and that's enough for the scammers to collect some money. What to do in case of sextortion? Trash the message. What to do to avoid sextortion? Install a good antivirus with antispam and antiscam filter for e-mails.