DAINIK NATION BUREAU
Believe it or not but this is true, if you have saved intimate moment video or picture on your computer or laptop then delete it or you may be in trouble. An email received by a woman in Delhi was couched in casual and polite language. In which sender has sent extortion threat: Pay up or face the consequences. It was a threat to make public a video of her intimate moments that the blackmailer claimed to have created by gaining access to computer.
Threats through the digital medium continue to come up in ever-changing forms, even as the recipient can never be sure whether the blackmailer really has the ability to carry out the threat or is just bluffing. In this latest email-based threat — which is believed to have been received by many people — the extortionist e-mailed the woman: “I have a video clip of you and your contact list,” adding that it was a list of her office colleagues. The threat suggests that it is a video of her in a moment that could be embarrassing for her family to see. It claims that using malware, control of the woman’s computer camera and all that she browsed was gained, which was used to film her.
The blackmailer then goes on to make the offer to leave her “once and for all” if she pays up $200 in Bitcoins. The mail contains a Bitcoin wallet address to which the fund has to be transferred, giving the victim five days to do it.
This victim, however, has decided not to be intimidated by the blackmail, and spoke out on Twitter: “I was going through my spam folder & saw this blackmailing email. In this case, the info is so vague that it’s obvs a scam. But listen women: even if someone DOES have a sex video of you & is blackmailing you – that is illegal. You are NOT at fault. The police CAN help you (sic).”
There are other women, too, who have reacted similarly, though the police have as yet received no formal complaint. In a separate case, the Delhi Police Cyber Cell had recently registered a complaint from a woman alleging somebody had created a fake social media account in her name, and was uploading her photos with obscene messages on that account and sending friend requests with her morphed images to those on her genuine account’s ‘friends list’.
During investigation it has revealed that the social media account had a ‘friend list’ of 353, all women. The complainant was also approached through various other social media accounts, also having large friend lists, all of them female. The victim blocked these accounts, but again got friend requests from yet more accounts. If she accepted any of the friend requests, she realised it was from the same person who was creating fake accounts.
A police officer dealing with such crimes said: “With Internet penetration touching record levels in the country, it is impossible for even the law enforcement agencies to hazard a guess on the magnitude of the problem. There is simply too much going on.”
The Delhi Police Cyber Cell, dealing with the fake social media accounts case, said they had not received any complaint regarding the latest extortion seeking payment in Bitcoins. “Cases registered with the cell relate to hacking of social media platform/e-mails. In some cases, these have been tracked to people either from Africa or Eastern Europe,” the police officer said.
“We have received three or four complaints where a person’s social media account has been hacked and he/she is being blackmailed. These are being probed,” Deputy Commissioner of Police (Cyber Cell) Anyesh Roy said. Gulshan Rai, Cyber Security Adviser to the Government, was of the opinion that it was up to the social media networking platforms to take “corrective action”.
A senior official with the Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT) said: “People have been warned not to click on spam. If they continue to do so, they will be in trouble.”
Real or spam?
The extortionist claimed to have gained access to her computer and prepared a clip of her intimate moments
Demands $200 in Bitcoins to settle matter once for all or else share her ‘intimate clip’ with her phone contact list
The woman doesn’t get intimated and instead takes to Twitter to narrate her account and warn other victims