In EnglishSextortion: “Leave €50,000 in a trash can or I'll share your sex videos”
With 17 years, Alvaro (fictitious name at the request of the victim) was not clear as to their sexual orientation: “I Wanted to try new things to see what it was that I really liked.” In this process of experimentation ended up in a chat in which, with no need to register, knew people for sex online. Almost always connected at the same time. So he began to match with a boy who “didn't like to teach”, but yes to ask: “I was recording videos and he said to me with a voice what to do.” What at first appeared to be a game of innocent, soon turned into a nightmare. The guy that had been chatting she started to blackmail: he asked her to leave 50,000 euros within a bin or spread around the material.
What happened to Álvaro, who is now 18 years old, is not an isolated case. It is called sextortion, and it is a form of blackmail by which one person coerces another to perform actions against their will. “The most common is for the attacker to gain the confidence of the victim talking with him, and during all this time go by with delicate content of the person. Once you have the material, threatens the victim with your distribution”, explains Sara G. Antúnez, attorney at law criminal Stop Haters, the first Spanish association non-profit to fight against harassment on the Internet.
The attackers, whose main aim is to get money, “taking advantage of the fear generated in the victim” to tell him that they have in their possession images intimate, and who will disseminate throughout the network. The guy with the Alvaro chateaba we did screen captures to the videos that I received: “send Me my own pictures and tell me that you paid and that if they told anyone or denounce it, would everything on the Internet and send pictures to my home”. But Alvaro didn't have enough money. “Pleaded with him to not asked me much and told him that I was going to work and to save, so I said that will compensate you with more sexual images and I did it,” says the young man, who acknowledges having given in on many occasions “because I was shit scared.”
as Alvaro, many other victims fall into the trap, according to G. Antúnez: “it Is very common that the first reaction of people is to give in to blackmail by fear to such distribution”. “The attacker always chooses very sensitive moments in which leads to a situation of nervousness and distress, end-to-end your victim with the goal of acting quickly and without thinking too much,” he says.
The attacker always chooses very sensitive moments in which leads to a situation of nervousness and distress, end-to-end your victim with the goal of acting quickly and without thinking too much
The threats that Álvaro suffered for a year seemed to go seriously. “When I stopped going into the chat and answer it, he sent a letter with a photo of my house. Lucky that I caught myself in time of my father,” recalls the young man, who still to this day don't know how the attacker found out your address. To see that the threats did not stop, and “that he was not going to get the money in the life”, he decided to seek help: “I Was scared, I felt humiliated and ashamed, but could not get out of there. He was cornered”.
it Was then when he came in contact with Stop Haters. “These situations are very complicated. Sometimes the victim does not realize the situation until it is too late,” says G. Antúnez. In addition to a team of lawyers to advise in the legal field to the victim, the association with psychologists and computer scientists. For a few months, investigated who was behind the threats. Note that it is a person “much higher” than the victim. Although, for the moment prefer not to give details, they confirm that they already have plenty of clues and they have brought the case to court.
Ruin the life of a person through the broadcast without their consent in a content intimate, it is a crime. The Spanish Penal Code, article 243, provides that this act may lead to one to five years in prison. But, unlike Álvaro, a high percentage of people affected do not report the blackmail, according to alert the Guardia Civil. This makes it difficult to analyze what is the real scale of the problem. The company expert in cyber security WatchGuard, in its Report of Internet Security, alert that it has detected that the sextortion was the second most used technique by the hackers in the fourth quarter of 2018.
In the case of Alvaro, the threats seem to have finished: “He should know that we've caught because he has stopped”. The 18-year-old, though now feels “protected”, it continues to struggle through what has happened and ensures that you will not access to pages without registration. “We are all free to practice whatever we want, but in secure sites,” he says.
sometimes the victim does not realize the situation until it is too late
There are “two types of attackers”. On the one hand, ex-partners or people with whom it has had any relation. On the other, those who hide under the anonymity that gives the network and impersonating another person to gain the trust of the victim to get the content. This last is what happened to Barbara (not her real name also at the request of the victim): “I Met a person who was passed by another in Twitter. I at first didn't know, and as we followed other people around me I believed that I was who he claimed to be”. It all started with an exchange of likes and retweets. Later, came the direct messages and, one day, shared their phone numbers.
communicated by Telegram and through phone calls. After months of talking, they began a ciberrelación: “seems odd to Me that we don't see it, but for my work, and that he claimed to have it was difficult to find the time and also we were living in different cities”. On some occasions they had “conversations calenturientas”. “Nunca we send you pictures, but I am fairly well known, and suddenly, one day, I began to write people around me telling me that from a fake profile had been sent some audio where I was saying things risqué. And imagine... I panicked,” says Nuria, who is 38 years old.
After learning that he had shared the audio recordings, called. He also wrote. But his account was gone. A few days later he had news from him: “he sent Me a message telling me that if you are not taking money in an account from another country with a name that he never heard, he would not stop sending messages with these podcasts”.
The error of pay
the Pay is never the solution. “Nothing assures us that if we pay such amount on the attitude of the attacker to go to cesar. It would not be surprising that, once we do, the attitude persists or deteriorates even more,” explains Fernández Alonso. The number of people that agree to pay “not very high”, since the amount of money requested is usually very high: “This makes it difficult for the person to be able to collect, making to jump alarms on the victim and giving him strength to seek help and support”.
Nothing assures us that if we pay such amount on the attitude of the attacker to go to cesar. It would not be surprising that, once we do, the attitude persists or deteriorates further.
She never gave in. He denounced the facts to the police and asked for help to Stop Haters. Did not take long to figure out who was behind the accounts, and, once he was told that they knew who I was and would take measures in this regard, it stopped. This whole event made to feel that She desperate and psychotic. Now, she feels safe. But he has not once ever speaking to any stranger to social networks. And send a message to anyone who can go through a similar situation: “You do not agree to the blackmail, and please ask for help fast.”
Grow massive campaigns to 'sextortion'Image provided by ESET of an email from a campaign of sextortion.
The last year there has been a boom of campaigns massive sextortion led to numerous users, according to the researcher of the company's cybersecurity ESET Ondrej Kubovic. The attackers send a large amount of spam to email addresses they find on the Internet or buy on the dark web. The attacker typically tells the victim that has recordings of yours watching sexual content and distribute them unless you enter an amount of money in a short period of time. “Although it is an ancient technique, we have seen multiple waves in the last few months. It is a quick and easy way to earn money, even if only a fraction of the victims is willing to pay,” explains Kubovic, that recommended to delete the email at the time in which it is received.
The attackers use different techniques. Some rub the implausible: “sometimes the criminals claim that they are agents of the police or secret services and who want to help the victim to avoid legal problems. In other cases, they claim to have placed explosives in the building and that will explode if you don't pay a ransom.” In order to convince the victims that the attack is real, tell them they have your passwords —sometimes the have managed to in-leakage of older data— or forge the email address of the sender so that it appears identical to that of the victim. In most cases, what they say “is a lie.”
Kubovic alert that “every campaign of this type can distribute tens or hundreds of thousands, of emails like”. As noted, it is difficult to analyze how successful are these campaigns, but they seem to be “financially attractive, because the criminals are adding new languages and repeating the same attack.”Updated Date: 26 December 2019, 01:01