Digital blackmail, a type of extortion in which the perpetrator uses threats to extract something from the victim, is becoming more and more sophisticated. A copy of your most personal email messages, your social media account passwords, or even your nude photos could all be used to blackmail you.
As ransomware viruses become more and more successful and profitable, playing a more prominent and more significant role in the illegal operations of cyberspace, the methods are evolving to operate as efficiently as possible and extract more considerable sums of money from their victims. Let’s briefly review how recent trends show changes in the working methods of blackmailers and ransomware.
New strategy in blackmailing
US investigative authorities are closely monitoring the spread and operation of ransomware. The FBI and the NSA have concluded from their observations that the methods used by extortionists have become more sophisticated over the past year. The hackers’ ‘business model’ is evolving nicely, and many attacks allow them to try new methods, new versions, and new distribution channels. This ultimately leads to methods becoming more and more effective. Some groups go so far as to designate people within their organization to focus on just one part of the ransomware work.
For example, some are only ‘in charge of communicating with victims, while others help with payments – mainly by guiding victims through the steps of making payments using cryptocurrency. The advantage of all this is that the ransom is paid faster. At the very least, this has the benefit that, in most cases, the data is recovered, so the ransom is not paid in vain.
The authorities have also discovered that some hacking groups are working together and exchanging information on victims. This includes exchanging personal data obtained through phishing attacks, stolen passwords. With this information, the fraudsters can more easily find loopholes to infect victims’ computers.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is the domestic intelligence and security service of the United States.
The National Security Agency, or NSA, is an “independent military intelligence agency and one of the nation’s largest intelligence organizations.” The purpose of the NSA is to protect the country from its adversaries in cyberspace.
Blackmailing is the act of using leverage, most often an embarrassing secret or information obtained illegally, and threatening to reveal it to others. Blackmailers are becoming more sophisticated as technology advances, and they’re evolving to operate as efficiently as possible and extract more money from their victims.
Undoubtedly, it’s vital to take the proper steps to stay safe online and be as prepared as possible to deal with any threats.