PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Do you know what pictures are on your phone right now. How about what pictures have ever been on your phone, or in the cloud.
“It’s what people make of it to their advantage,” says ITSecurity’s Albert Whale.
Whale says with increasing ease hackers can access your photos, or perhaps cloud deposits and you have no way of knowing its even happening. The cumulative effect, you don’t know whether you’ve been compromised or not when a Sextortionist contacts you wanting money.
The FBI’s Director of Internet Crime Complaint Center, Donna Gregory, says, “The criminals are actually saying that they have either photographs or videos of you in a compromising situation. That if you don’t pay the ransom, they’re going to release that to your contacts or post it on social media.”
If you know there simply could not be anything damaging out there, ignore it, and move on. But Whale says the sextortionists are banking on you not being so sure.
“Maybe they have that fear that, ‘Hey, once upon a time they did take a picture. Did it get out of the cloud?’” he said. “If you have doubts at all check with a professional, call you police department, or someone in cyber security and talk to them, don’t do anything hastily.”
The cyber law enforcement experts say paying will often result in more demands for payment. Instead, take screenshots of any messages from the sextortionist and don’t respond.
Often, the person trying to get your money does not even have any incriminating pictures.
Whale says the best way to reduce your risk is to eliminate any apps on your phone that you are not using. Limit your use of Snapchat and Instagram, and if you are contacted through a social media account, suspended the account until you get cyber help.
Whale says, “The more you minimize your exposure the more you can be assured that you are going to be safer.”