Don’t Fall for Webcam Blackmail: Here’s How to Protect Yourself

Don’t Fall for Webcam Blackmail: Here’s How to Protect Yourself
a young caucasian woman face down in bed using a smartphone and a succession of numbers one and zero for the binary code in the foreground

NordVPN Tips on How to Avoid Sextortion Scammers Who Claim to Have a Video of You on Adult Sites.

Authorities and cybersecurity experts have issued a fresh warning about the so-called sextortion scam that is making a comeback with new variations. Webcam porn scams have been on the rise for more than a year now, but people are still falling into the trap.

The scam, which bears a strong resemblance to an episode of the popular sci-fi series Black Mirror, is based on the idea that a hacker has accessed a victim’s webcam and recorded them watching pornography along with a video feed from the screen. The hacker threatens to publish the video online unless the victim pays a ransom in Bitcoins.

“The most important thing to know is that such claims are almost certainly fake. New versions of the scam seem to appear realistic as criminals provide the victim’s password, phone number, name, address or other personal data,” says Daniel Markuson, NordVPN Digital Privacy Expert. “Hackers get this information from social media or leaked databases, as people still have a very shallow understanding of cybersecurity and their privacy online.”

Fresh warnings about the scam are coming from the UK, US, and Australia. Local authorities say that the number of reports about webcam scam is growing again. Criminals send large numbers of such emails knowing that, statistically, some people will respond and pay the ransom.

Even though this particular sextortion threat is fake, spying or remote access software and keyloggers are more than real. In fact, webcam hacking can be done quite easily, though it is not very popular as it requires a lot of time. Nevertheless, according to NordVPNs’ Daniel Markuson, there are some simple steps to avoid sextortion scams.

Protect yourself from webcam scam

Check if your passwords have been leaked

Not sure if any of your accounts have ever been hacked? You can check that on haveibeenpwned.com. However, even if your email is not listed on the database, it doesn’t mean that nobody knows your passwords, as this website doesn’t have the data on every single hack that’s ever been done.

And one more reminder – create strong passwords and never reuse them. If one service suffers a data breach and your password is leaked, your other accounts will stay safe. To keep track of all those unique passwords, use a password manager. Two-factor authentication is recommended as well.

Always ignore scammers

There is a very slim chance that the webcam threat is real, so the best thing you can do is ignore the scammers. Never negotiate with them, never pay them. There is no public evidence of even a single case when such claims were real. Scammers might have grabbed your email address and password from a leaked database and are now using them to make the threat seem more personal. The best thing you can do is notify your local police station, as cybercrimes should get more attention from authorities.

Get secure browsing habits, antivirus, and a VPN

If you have a VPN (virtual private network), you can feel much safer. Some VPNs, like NordVPN, block all incoming connections so even if someone tries to access your webcam, they will not succeed while your VPN is on.

Nevertheless, if your device is not new, there is a chance that you already have some kind of a keylogger (or a security backdoor) installed by some shady hacker. In this case, VPN will not help you, and the best way to get rid of such keyloggers is to reinstall the operating system of your device entirely. If you want to be completely confident that your gadgets are free from spying malware, make sure you have an antivirus software and update it regularly.

Disable or cover your webcam

Finally, it might be a good idea to cover or disable your laptop’s webcam when you are not using it. If IT guys are doing it, there might be a reason for this. The simple tape will do the job, but you can buy a fancier webcam cover online.

About NordVPN

NordVPN is the world’s most advanced VPN service provider that is more security oriented than most VPN services. It offers double VPN encryption, ad blocking & Onion Over VPN. The product is very user-friendly, offers one of the best prices on the market, has over 4,500 servers worldwide and is P2P friendly. One of the key features of NordVPN is zero log policy. For more information: nordvpn.com.

Image credit: Depositphotos

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