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What Is A Sexortation Scam?

One of our clients just asked this question… “What should we do? One of our employees opened a legitimate-looking text or email that said: ‘Send bitcoin right away, or else I am sending compromising photos or information to your friends and family.’ They know that there aren’t any compromising photos or information linked to them; however, they’re still worried.” We told them that this is what’s called a Sexortation Scam. Here’s what they and you need to know.

How Does A Sexortation Scam Work?

You’ll receive an email or text from a hacker indicating that they have gained access to your device and will now be releasing embarrassing information.  They won’t necessarily tell you what this is, so it makes you wonder what they could possibly have.

Typically, the scammer says they will share this embarrassing information with your employer, family and friends. In return for their “silence,” the scammer will request an immediate transfer of funds to their account through Bitcoin (which can’t be tracked). They may ask for thousands of dollars.

Are These Scams Legit?

Before you go frantically searching for ways to transfer bitcoins to them, it’s important to know that most of these sexortation scams aren’t legitimate. So, you shouldn’t pay the ransom.

What Should You Do To Protect Against Sexortation Scams?

It all comes down to the scammer’s credibility. If the scammer reveals that they have a legitimate password belonging to you, change it immediately.

Passwords are a big part of your cybersecurity – and if you’re cutting corners and using weak passwords, you’re exposing yourself and your business to scams like this. Even though passwords are the most direct way to access a user’s private information, most passwords in use today are just not strong or complex enough.

Passwords protect email accounts, banking information, private documents, administrator rights and more. And yet, user after user and business after business continue to make critical errors when it comes to choosing and protecting their passwords.

Creating and using strong passwords can be frustrating, but it’s incredibly important. Privacy and security are major concerns for personal users and businesses alike these days. You must be sure that you aren’t making it easy for hackers to access you or your business’ private data.

Practice Good Password Behavior

  • Use Length and Complexity: Keep in mind that the easier it is for you to remember a password, the easier it will be for a hacker to figure it out. That’s why short and simple passwords are so common — Users worry about forgetting them, so they make them too easy to remember, which presents an easy target for hackers.
  • Use Numbers, Case, and Symbols: Another factor in the password’s complexity is whether or not it incorporates numbers, cases, and symbols. While it may be easier to remember a password that’s all lower-case letters, it’s important to mix in numbers, capitals, and symbols to increase the complexity.
  • Don’t Use Personal Information: Many users assume that information specific to them will be more secure. The thinking, for example, is that your birthday is one of 365 possible options in a calendar year, not to mention your birth year itself. The same methodology applies to your pet’s name, your mother’s maiden name, etc. However, given the ubiquity of social media, it’s not difficult for hackers to research a target through Facebook, LinkedIn, and other sites to determine when they were born, information about their family, personal interests, etc.
  • Don’t Use Patterns and Sequences: Like the other common mistakes, many people use patterns as passwords to better remember them. But again, this makes the password easy to guess. “abc123”, or the first row of letters on the keyboard, “qwerty,” etc., are extremely easy for hackers to guess.
  • Use A Password Manager: One of the best ways to maintain complex passwords is with a password manager. Password managers are the key to keeping your passwords secure. Using a password manager will assist you in keeping track of your passwords by creating one strong password that is difficult to hack.

A password manager generates, keeps track of and retrieves complex and long passwords for you to protect your vital online information. It also remembers your PINS, credit card numbers and three-digit CVV codes if you choose this option. Plus, it provides answers to security questions for you. All of this is done with strong encryption that makes it difficult for hackers to decipher. There are a number to choose from, like LastPass, Sticky and Dashlane.

What Else Should You Do

  • Never reuse the same password. If you have done so in the past, it is highly recommended that you update them.
  • Be sure to enable two-factor authentication when it’s available.
  • Also, cover the camera lens on your computer with electrical tape or use a computer camera cover to prevent them from viewing you.
  • And finally, don’t respond to sexortation email requests.  The more that you respond, the more likely you are to expose information for them to manipulate against you.

Contact the cybersecurity experts at Network Heroes In Las Vegas. We can protect your private business information and help you and your users practice good password behavior.

In the meantime, stay up-to-date on the latest IT news and information. Visit our Tech Journal where we publish current articles each month.