How to avoid extortion?

How to avoid extortion?

How to Protect Yourself Against Extortion?

 Extortion (paying someone to prevent that person from hurting you in some way) is nothing new. Most people conduct business online due to the current COVID-19 pandemic. This has resulted in the rise of cybercrime practices. They are organized not just by thieves and con artists, but by political and social activists, popularly known as hacktivists.

What is Internet extortion?

Internet extortion is a crime involving an attack or threat of an attack coupled with a demand for money or some other response in return for stopping or remediating the attack.

Internet extortion attacks are about gaining access to an organization's systems and identifying points of weakness or targets of value. This involves a threat to expose a person’s embarrassing or damaging information—such as revealing pictures, explicit video, or an aspect of the individual’s personal life that he or she would prefer to keep secret—unless the person gives the criminal what he or she demands. Most blackmailers ask for money, but some request intimate pictures or other items.

Cybercriminals demand payment through malicious activity, such as ransomware, which is the most common form of cyberextortion. They also use distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks and steal confidential corporate data and threaten to expose it.

In a ransomware attack, a blackmailer encrypts the victim's files and offers to decrypt them only after payment is made, usually in the form of cryptocurrencies like bitcoin. In a DDoS attack, the cybercriminal typically threatens to carry out an attack if payment isn't made. The threat is suspended once the victim pays the attacker, or the DDoS is conducted if the ransom isn't paid.

how to avoid extortion

There is no relief in sight for entities or businesses beleaguered with cyber-crime, or those fighting against it. Here's how you, as an individual, can prepare and hopefully avoid becoming a victim.

Use a strong password

Passwords should be at least eight characters; include a combination of numbers, letters, and symbols; and not be words related to you. Instead, use a memory device.

You might also consider using a password manager, which assigns and stores unique, encrypted passwords for different sites for you. You log in to the manager, then it applies the password to the site. 

To harden the security, use multifactor authentication.

Do not share your passwords

Prevent others from access your password-protected sites without you being present. if someone does, immediately change your password.

Backup Important Data

Develop strategies to back up and encrypt sensitive data and test recovery procedures regularly.

Don't Fall for Pop-Ups

Fraudulent emails and text messages are not only common, they're getting increasingly convincing. If an e-mail or pop-up window asks you to enter your username or password, don't do it. Instead, open your browser and go to the site directly. If you're still not convinced, contact the company or entity that supposedly contacted you. Reputable companies will never ask you for your login information through an e-mail.

How to Deal With Extortion or Blackmail?

The first thing to remember is never to take matters into your own hands. Deciding to resort to threats of your own, a physical altercation, or even murder will more than likely result in your own incarceration and having the blackmailer carry out his or her threat. Similarly, simply complying with the demands can often lead to further demands or even having the blackmailer carry out the coercive threat simply out of spite once you have complied.

Finding and punishing wrongdoers is what the police are for. Call them first. Blackmail and extortion are crimes, and it is their obligation to enforce the law.