What is Internet Extortion?
Internet extortion involves hacking into and controlling various industry databases, promising to release control back to the company if funds are received, or the subjects are given web administrator jobs. Similarly, the subject will threaten to compromise information about consumers in the industry database unless funds are received.
In the CBS The Good Wife. a hacker takes control and threatens to delete ALL of Florrick/Agos/Lockhart’s files, sending the firm into panic mode when he demands a ransom. This is an another form of Internet Extortion. I will be talking more about “Ransomware” in another posting.
- Security needs to be multi-layered so that numerous obstacles will be in the way of the intruder.
- Ensure security is installed at every possible entry point.
- Identify all machines connected to the Internet and assess the defense that’s engaged.
- Identify whether your servers are utilizing any ports that have been known to represent insecurities.
- Ensure you are utilizing the most up-to-date patches for your software.
Threats of Action
Also common are “threats of action” which is essentially corporate online blackmail. The blackmailer has obtained sensitive information about your business, which could range from a client list to a proprietary product, and is demanding payment to keep it secret. The problem here, of course, is that the blackmailer can keep demanding payment forever, especially since the information is likely digital. This is less common than extortion, but if you’re in a business where you need to keep a trade secret or with intense competition, you may be exposed to this.
Threat of Defamation
Threat of defamation is precisely what it sounds like. A demand for money or other favors, or else the blackmailer will smear your reputation with false statements. For example, a business might receive several bad reviews at once on major review sites. While less common than the above two types of online extortion, it can still happen and should be treated seriously.
Coercion is where the threat of exposing this information is used to make you engage in an illegal activity. Coercion is the rarest form of Internet blackmail, and in fact, the rarest form of blackmail in general, but you may receive coercion threats via the Internet.
When Filing a Complaint with the IC3
The IC3 accepts online Internet crime complaints from either the actual victim or from a third party to the complainant. We can best process your complaint if we receive accurate and complete information from you. Therefore, we request that you provide the following information
when filing a complaint: Please include the following:
- Your name
- Your mailing address
- Your telephone number
- The name, address, telephone number, and Web address, if available, of the individual or organization you believe defrauded you.
- Specific details on how, why, and when you believe you were defrauded.
- Any other relevant information you believe is necessary to support your complaint.