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The following information was obtained from the different cyber security sources and provided as a notification to all parties concerned pursuant to the mandate of the Philippine National Police  Anti-Cybercrime Group (PNP ACG).

The information provided is classified as Restricted pursuant to the PNP Regulation 200-012 on document securitywith impact rating of significant and threat rating of high, based on PNP Information Communication p. 22 and p.129.


SUMMARY

Sextortion is defined as a form of blackmailing activity in which sexual information or images are used to extort money from individuals by persuading them to carry out sexual actswithout them knowing that such action is being recorded. This online extortion is often conducted by sophisticated organized criminal networks, operating out of business like locations similar to call centers or private individual who has a monetary motive. Though there is no one distinct method used by the criminals on their potential targets, a lot of persons are targeted through websites including social media, dating sites, webcam or adult pornography sites.

The cybercriminal usually assumes the identity of an attractive man or woman in order to get the interest of the potential victim and eventually gain the trust through constant communication.  The criminal will entice the victim to send nude photographs or perform sexual acts without the victim knowing that such footages are being recorded.  Once the cybercriminal was able to obtain nude images or recorded nude footages, the victim will be threatened that those materials will be circulated among his family and circle of friends or post it online unless a certain amount of money is paid.

Both men and women can be victims of sextortion.  The best way to avoid from being a victim is to be very careful on choosing online friends, especially when sharing intimate or personal photographs and footages.

If you are a victim of this modus operandi, take screen shots of all your communication and immediately suspend your social media account but don’t delete it. Use the online reporting process to report the matter to the social media sites. Further, request for the video to be blocked and to set up an alert in case the video appears again. Deactivating the Facebook account temporarily rather than shutting it down is a means of preserving the data which may be of help to the law enforcement agencies in collecting pieces of digital evidence. Hence, with this procedure, the account can be easily reactivated.

RECOMMENDATION

    The community are advised to follow the following prevention tips to avoid being a victim of sextortion:

•    Be aware that video and voice calls on the Internet can be recorded;
•    Be cautious about people you meet online. Revealing personal details is extremely risky because there are a lot of fake online accounts;
•    Cybercriminal often seek soft targets so they move on if you do not respond. Just block their emails and their accounts and cease all contact with the scammers;
•    Do not open attachment from anyone that you dont know;
•    Be aware that anything done online may be available to others. Do not send images of yourself that you want to remain private to anyone;
•    Turn off electronic devices and web cameras when you are not using them to minimize cybercriminals ability to activate remotely;
•    Ensure that application and social networking sites privacy settings are set to the strictest levels; and
•    If you ever encounter this kind of scam, save the cybercriminals details, emails, comment threads or any other evidence you can get.

For additional information, please refer to the following security websites:

•    https://www.interpol.int/Crime-areas/Cybercrime/Online-safety/Sextortion
•    https://www.legalmomentum.org/resources/9-tips-prevent-cyber-sextortion
•    http://www.nationalcrimeagency.gov.uk/crime-threats/kidnap-and-extortion/sextortion


POINT OF CONTACT

Please contact CSRAD, PNP ACG for any inquiries related to this CYBER SECURITY BULLETIN at http://mail.pnp.gov.ph/ and This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 7230401 local 5337.