Sextortion: Before you get naughty online, here's what you need to know

First Published 6, Sep 2017, 6:35 PM IST
Sextortion Its time to know and understand this term very well
  • You come across a beautiful woman on social media and accept request.
  • Soon you start with your naughty actions and little do you know she is recording every bit of it.
  • Sextortion isn't necessary by hackers, and it can be by someone you know very well.

Sextortion is on the rise in India, and there are several reports floating online that will vouch for it. While the term has a broader meaning, the underlying truth remains how a person (known/unknown) can coerce you into doing something by threatening to release sexual images or information. Men are said to be easy targets of sextortion.

It's as simple as - You come across a beautiful woman on social media. You accept the request and start chatting. The friendship grows and you take it a step ahead into your virtual world - Skype. Soon you start with your naughty actions and little do you know she is recording every bit of it. The next step - you are asked to pay a hefty sum or the video will be released on social media to your friends and family. It could devastate your family life, and so you have no choice but to pay up.

This has been the case across the world, and majority targets have been men. In Malta, such crime saw a sudden rise wherein blackmailers lured men with beautiful photos and soon invited them to a real-time video chat. The woman suddenly starts striping, which was actually a pre-recorded video. Once the man began repeating the action, he was later blackmailed by showing that video, leaving him no choice but to pay the sum or get the video all over the social site.

It was said to be a part for an extortionist group trying to get money from you. So after phishing and online frauds, online criminals have found newer ways of cyber crimes. However, this isn't all. It could also happen with a partner, whom you once trusted. Imagine, you have been with your boyfriend for years and trusted him with a cyber sex chat including images. One day, things fall apart and you decide to part ways. He has the recordings and blackmails saying he would create a WhatsApp group with all your family members and close friends, and release the content.

So, sextortion isn't necessary by hackers, and it can be by someone you know very well. In fact, online 'seductions' is a new front for the military. The ‘woman’ who can lure men to reveal all has been a strategic weapon. However, it has now evolved so much that you don’t even need a real female to do it. On January 11, the Israeli government announced that the Islamist group Hamas had gained access to the mobile devices of dozens of its soldiers using online honey traps. In August 2014, a subedar in the Indian Army posted in Hyderabad was arrested for allegedly passing on information about troop movements and military exercises to a woman Pakistani spy he met on Facebook.

It's also described as a form of corruption that extorts sexual favours in exchange of something you desire usually by people at an authoritative or powerful position. With the social media age and the easy access to newer people, sextortion is a form of blackmail that in which sexual information or images are used to extort favours, malign someone, take revenge and so on. 

The aftermath can be quite difficult. For instance, if you've been using webcam for casual flirting and cybersex, the content can come back to bite you. So, it is best advised not to get caught in such a trap. Avoid getting cozy online with people you don’t know. Don’t share explicit content with such people. Sexting may be normal for long-distant couples, but it is best to avoid sharing explicit images. It is advised you do not share such private images, even with your spouse.

In case, you are a victim, report the matter to police immediately.