Sexual blackmail, all Italy in the crosshairs of hackers

Several Italian users, especially businessmen, politicians and university professors, have ended up under blackmail for porn videos that would concern them

Beware of the emails you receive these days: someone could contact you with a sexual blackmail. Thousands of people all over Italy are receiving a new blackmail with a sexual background that reads more or less like this: "we have the video of you watching a porn video, pay us or we will publish it on the Internet".

The new hacker threat, according to the first investigations, affects in a particular way businessmen, famous faces of television, university professors and quite well-known people of the political world. The aim of cyber criminals is to jeopardize the public opinion of a famous person, hoping that this person will pay the amount of money requested in the e-mail without delay. This amount is usually between three thousand and five thousand dollars, to be paid strictly in Bitcoin. Needless to say, paying is absolutely useless.

How does sexual blackmail via email work

This new sexual blackmail is spreading throughout Italy through a phishing campaign and always acts in the same way. The victim is contacted with a very direct email message where the hackers announce that they have a porn video of the victim and that if the victim doesn't pay within a certain amount of time, the same video will be published on the Web on the main social networks.

This is a hoax, but the hackers say they have taken the video from one of our devices because they have the passwords of some of our online profiles and they attach them in the email. And the passwords in most cases correspond with those used by the victims. One aspect that causes panic is that it has led several users to pay the high amount of money demanded by cyber criminals. Paying, however, is useless because often these porn videos are nothing more than a photomontage. And if we prove to be willing to pay the first time, it is very likely that cyber criminals will start threatening us with other blackmails, always sexual in nature.

How to defend yourself from this sexual blackmail

Many people are willing to pay even if they are not sure that the video is real because they do not want their loved ones, friends or simply acquaintances to come into possession of a sex video about them. Paying, however, is an option that should never be considered. The first thing to do if you receive an email like the one mentioned above that threatens you with a sex video is to contact the Postal Police and file a complaint.

But how do hackers get our email addresses and passwords? It is likely that in the past months or years one of our accounts has ended up in the cauldron of data breaches and now the (old) credentials are available to anyone on the dark web. So a cyber criminal can use this information to threaten us or spy on us. Let's not waste time and change passwords on all our online profiles, from email to social media. Let's create complex login credentials consisting of numbers, symbols and letters and above all let's activate two-factor authentication wherever possible to monitor every access to our online profiles.