Security 4. January 2019

Federal government warns against sextortion

In its Reporting and Analysis Centre for Information Assurance MELANI, the Confederation warns of the fake sextortion scam.

Blackmailers claim in an email that they have access to computers and the webcam and threaten, if no ransom is paid, to send personal pictures and videos with sexual content to all contacts. As a means of pressure, they often provide a password from a data dump, which is outdated and mostly no longer in use.

Meanwhile, various other variants are applied to reinforce the extortion:

  1. The cell phone number is used to convince the victim that the cell phone has been compromised.
  2. A similar procedure is also used with the mail account as with the cell phone number. The scammers send a fake message from what appears to be their own email account. They want to prove that they are in possession of the access data.

In both examples, the victim is asked to pay the ransom with Bitcoins. These extortion emails are sent in different languages. Criminals have used this scam to obtain Bitcoins worth around CHF 360,000 in the last six months.

We recommend you to check if and which of your data has already been leaked by a data leak. You can easily determine this with the Firefox Monitor.

Furthermore, we recommend the website stop-sextortion.ch, launched by the authorities, where you can find more information and report fake sextortion emails.

Sources: MELANI (further information), Stop-Sextortion (reporting office)

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