Blog

Watch Out: Internet Hackers are Blackmailing and Extorting Porn Site Visitors

By July 10, 2019 No Comments
hackers-blackmail-porn-users-porn-site-kills-love-fight-the-new-drug

As an organization dedicated to giving visibility to the science and research that show porn is harmful, we’re all about sharing the relational, mental, and social-systemic effects of consuming porn.

If this isn’t convincing enough, there are other risks to consuming porn that aren’t based on scientific evidence. One particular danger that has received massive media coverage in the last year is technological in nature: consumer blackmail.

Podcast - Listen

The porn footage blackmail scheme

In case you missed it, a widespread hacking and blackmail operation that started in the summer of 2018 has recently surged again.

The basic sextortion storyline is this: online hackers collect personally identifiable information from older data breaches from around the interweb, including account passwords, names, and email addresses. They then use a certain algorithm to mass target individuals whose info they’ve accessed. Their MO? An eye-catching email claiming to have hacked your personal computer or smartphone and recorded video footage through your webcam of you watching porn. They then threaten to share this humiliating video with all your contacts unless you pay a certain amount of ransom money through Bitcoin.

Related: Here’s What Porn Sites Do With All The Info They Gather From Consumers

Because hackers use real—though likely old—passwords, names, and other account info, the threatening emails have convinced many victims to fork over money. The average amount demanded in ransom is $593.56 worth of Bitcoin, and plenty of the recipients have been willing to pay that rather than have such embarrassing footage spread among their networks.

According to Fortune, scammers have amassed at least $949,000 worth of cryptocurrency from the millions of emails they’ve sent out.

Brain Heart World

Is this a real risk?

Anti-phishing security company Area 1 has investigated this scam and does not believe that the hackers have actual video footage as they claim they do. They simply advertise themselves as legitimate by proving they know real account passwords and your visited porn sites.

Does this mean porn site visitors can shrug off any concern? Definitely not.

Porn consumers’ personal data has been involved in large scale data breaches in part because the porn industry does not tend to focus on cybersecurity. Porn sites are notorious in the tech world for their insecure server systems. Many do not use the more updated, more secure HTTPS system, meaning that viewers’ actions can be easily tracked and watched by even the least sophisticated hackers.

Related: Digital Fingerprints: How The Porn You Watch May Be Watching You

And even more than seeing what sites you visit, this cyber insecurity means that hackers can easily access your personal info—credit card numbers, passwords, and any other personal data you give the site.

And even though these specific Bitcoin scammers likely possess no actual footage, that doesn’t mean it isn’t a possibility. Porn site ads and popups offering an exciting webcam experience can contain ransomware, which in the worst-case scenario, would allow hackers to control your device or gain access to your camera.

They could definitely use this power to threaten you, and more might be at stake than an old account password.

Classic PKL

Not as private as you might think

Here’s a harsh truth: there is very little online activity in 2019 that is totally private.

And this is completely true in the world of porn. Pornhub releases their annual usage report, filled with incredible detail about what their site visitors watch and search for, how much time is spent watching porn, etc. They know the user’s age, gender, and sexual curiosities. They know this because they track every move made on their site.

Related: The Hidden Technological Risks Consumers Face By Clicking Porn

Software engineer Brett Thomas explained in a blog post entitled Online Porn Could Be The Next Big Privacy Scandal that, “If you are watching porn online, even in incognito mode, you should expect that at some point your porn viewing history will be publicly released and attached to your name.”

Thomas believes that it’s only a matter of time before a hacker creates a huge database with detailed records of people’s porn-consuming histories by name and tosses it to the entire world. The fact is, you are at risk if you choose to consume porn, whether you are in incognito mode or not.

Harness

Porn sites are by no means the only online platforms where your information isn’t safe—hackers manage to get into even the most secure servers. We’re simply highlighting this cryptocurrency extortion scheme as yet one more of the many risks that come with consuming porn.

In addition to your mental well-being, your most valued relationships, and your part in fighting to make the world a safer and healthier place, your privacy and security are placed at risk when you click XXX links. Is watching worth it?

Consider this: you have too much to lose by choosing porn and everything to gain by ditching it. Maybe this can be one more reason to leave porn behind for good.

Send this to a friend

Like all websites, we use cookies. By continuing on this site, you agree to our use of cookies. More

The cookie settings on this website are set to "allow cookies" to give you the best browsing experience possible. If you continue to use this website without changing your cookie settings or you click "Accept" below then you are consenting to this.

Close