A new twist on the old phishing scam

Hackers are counting on your bad behavior, being naughty or doing something embarrassing in an effort to blackmail you.

The FBI’s financial crime section calls it “a scare scam.” While most phishing scams try to steal passwords, this isn’t just trying to gain access to your computer. Hackers want victims to pay a ransom within 24 hours through Bitcoin.

Cyber security and data privacy attorney Shawn Tuma said he's been referring to sextortion as shame hacking—that’s where hackers threaten to expose embarrassing behavior unless paid off.

“And, then they tell you we videoed you, using your Web cam, watching pornography and we’re going to reveal that…to your friends, family, employees, employer, congregation or whomever,” said Tuma.

He said hacker's tactics changed with the Ashley Madison data breach.

In 2012, LinkedIn had a data breach that exposed people’s e-mail addresses and passwords used. Personal data is now a database that’s available to other hackers and put up for sale on the dark net.

As long as there are data breaches releasing personal information, sextortion scams will be on the rise.

If you've had your information stolen in any past breach, you could be more vulnerable. 

Nothing we do online is truly secure. Hackers do have the ability to access your computer's camera and microphone and record you.

Tuma said don't put yourself in compromising positions, where you might feel guilty and threatened to shell out money.

“It is more of an extortion in that they’re not asking you to click on a link or open an attachment that will then lead to your problems, they’re saying us ‘pay us money or else we’re going to reveal this’,” said Tuma.

He advises:

·         to be careful with what you're watching online.

·         don't use the same username and password on multiple accounts.

·         don't click on anything suspicious/engage with the threat.

·         don't pay the ransom

·         don't get on nefarious Web sites.

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