Tips for Your Clients: How to Handle Cyber Extortion Attempts

Cyber extortion cases have not only been growing in scale but have been evolving in terms of how they’re executed. Now, cyber scams target anyone and everyone with a network connection. From breaching the data of a financial institution to breaking into a personal computer to hold sensitive information for ransom, cyber threats are continuing to pose a real concern in the increasingly digitally dependent world.

It’s important to know exactly what and who you’re up against when it comes to scams. And it’s just as important to know how to respond to these scams so information, finances, and reputation can all be safe.

Cyber Sextortion

Cyber extortion can be illustrated through attempts to obtain a ransom by withholding personal and sensitive materials, such as financial information or cryptocurrency. But, much like the evolution of technology, extortionists are getting more creative with their attempts at holding their targets up.

Scammers are now engaging in sextortion attempts, claiming that they have someone’s webcam content downloaded as well as their private adult-themed images and videos. In fact, between July 1 and the beginning of August of 2018, the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center, or IC3, received an additional 13,000 complaints about the sextortion scam over the previous months.

When it comes to online scams, extortion is common. But with sextortion, scammers are relying on our modern tools, such as social media and photo apps, to hold a ransom over individuals and companies alike.

How to Handle Extortion and Sextortion

No matter if it’s an identity theft threat or sextortion case, there are certain steps to take to cut down the possibility of further damage. First, it’s important to keep calm and even ignore the ransom note. It can understandably be upsetting for anyone to receive ransom cyber blackmail, but it should be noted that it’s nothing more than a scam. The sender behind the email likely hasn’t infiltrated a computer or its network.

Second, clients should make sure to change their passwords. Sometimes, ransom emails contain the password of the target, which elevates the severity and authenticity of the threat. While it’s still just a scam and a threat, it does help to change all passwords, just in case. Avoid using the same password for multiple accounts, and enable two-factor authentication wherever possible.

Third, check for any credentials that may have been leaked. Scammers probably discovered credentials in a data breach. If this is the case, someone who has been hit with a scam email can look to see if their information has been part of a breach and/or leaked online somehow.

Tap Into Cyber Coverage

A cyber insurance broker should be contacted to find the right kind of cyber and data breach coverage. Having the help of a cyber insurance broker will pinpoint what kind of cyber coverage needs to be purchased to protect against online scams.

Cyber and data protection will help to provide restoration of data lost or damaged due to a virus or hackers and can provide financial help for the costs associated with an extortion threat, including ransomware.