So far 864 people in the UK have reported instances of "webcam blackmail" to police in 2016, more than double the number of reported incidents in 2015.
The survivors of these crimes are mostly men; many are befriended by criminals online who trick them into performing sexual acts during a videoconference session, which is surreptitiously captured and used as leverage against the victim to extort cash. Other criminals hack their victims' computers, infecting them with "Remote Access Trojans" (RATs) that let them surreptitiously control the victims' camera and mic, as well as logging their keystrokes and plundering their hard drives.
At least four men and boys in the UK committed suicide after being attacked in one of these ways. A substantial portion of the victims were boys 11-20 years old.
In response to this surge in reported cases, the NCA has issued new advice for victims of webcam blackmail: don't panic, don't pay, don't communicate, and preserve evidence. Basically, if you find yourself being blackmailed, you should go straight to your local police, who will "take your case seriously, will deal with it in confidence, and will not judge you for being in this situation." You should not pay the ransom, but if you've already paid, make a note of where it was collected from; if it hasn't been collected, cancel the payment. Don't communicate with the criminal; instead, take screenshots of any messages, suspend your Facebook account (don't delete it), and report it to YouTube if there's a video that needs blocking.
Reported cases of webcam blackmail double, are linked to four suicides
[Sebastian Anthony/Ars Technica]
Raffi Cavoukian (AKA "Raffi") is best known as a beloved children's singer -- I vividly remember attending one of his concerts as a child -- and possibly secondarily as the brother of former Ontario Privacy Commissioner and excellent privacy advocate Ann Cavoukian, but in recent years, he's emerged as a smart, acerbic political activist whose […]
Two corgis do battle in this epic video confrontation posted on YouTube by Defacto Sound, which I suspect is exploiting the Corg Wars to show off its audio design talents.
The Black Blorchestra performs a gorgeous and stirring rendition of "Glory to Hong Kong" for an audience of protesters in HK, all dressed in the uprising's defacto uniform of masks and helmets. (Thanks, Jeff Wasserstrom!)
If you’ve worked in any high-performing engineering lab, you already know about MATLAB. This computing environment and the language that powers it is perfectly suited to science and math, with an interface that makes it easy to express and visualize complex algorithms – not to mention an infrastructure that lets it easily work with other […]
Studies have shown cannabidiol (more popularly known as CBD) to be effective in two main areas: Pain relief and stress relief. Both of those make the non-psychoactive, cannabis-derived compound a natural for topical creams. There’s no shortage of CBD products out there, but here’s eight of our favorites, all specifically designed for dermatological use – […]
If you’re part of the maker community, you know Make:. Though Make: magazine is off the shelves as of this year, the eBooks and resources put out by Maker Media are still a fantastic resource for the new generation of tinkerers, hackers, and robotics geeks. If you’re in that tribe, listen up: they’ve released a […]