Sextortion and Identity Theft: Studies Show the Nastiest Cyberattacks Now Target Teen Girls and Women

At the end of March 2018, the Financial Market Supervisory Authority (FINMA) had a most concerning report to deliver on its annual news conference. The watchdog stated that cyber attacks posed the biggest threat to the Swiss financial system.

FINMA also noted cyberattacks were on the rise, posing a major threat to the Swiss financial system known world-over to provide ultra-private banking and financial data protection tradition.

According to Chief Executive Mark Branson, both the private and public sectors should take the issue “extremely serious”. He added hacking incursions were on the rise in sync with global digitalization.

The warning to the financial sector reflects the situation in other spheres of digital lifestyles.

Sextortion

Perhaps the biggest concern in recent times was the Equifax breach in 2017.

Over 147 million Equifax users’ private data was feared exposed to hackers. That information included information that could put women and girls in the line of fire in terms of cybercrime such as “sextortion”.

Sextortion involves cases that involve what is effectively virtual sexual abuse. A relatively new type of cybercrime, sextortion occurs when offenders take advantage of illegally acquired personal information to coerce their victims into engaging into forms of sexual activity online.

The personal information the offender holds acts as leverage.

Offenders will sabotage their victims by threatening to expose personal information online to family, friends, schoolmates, work colleagues, and other social circles the victim values.

But unlike traditional hacking incursions that demanded financial ransoms, sextortion offenders are increasingly demanding their targets to engage in pornographic activity in front of a webcam.

Most Victims are Women and Girls.

In 2016, Brookings Institution found nearly 80 cases of sextortion that could have involved more than 3,000 women and teenage girls.

A shocking majority of the sextortion victims were girls under the age of 18—a staggering 71% compared to 12% of cases involving only adult victims. Another 14% of the cases involved a mix of minors and adult victims.

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