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Porn users, meet your blackmailer

by Neal O'Farrell on May 1st, 2010

Users of a web service that provides access to porn movies found themselves being extorted by a Japanese cyber gang threatening to expose their porn use unless a ransom was paid.

The victims were invited to download a movie installer that they thought would give them unlimited access to pirated porn. Unfortunately for them, the software hid a Trojan horse program that requested the user’s personal information, including their email address, before they could access the movies.

Surprise surprise, when those users then reported receiving an email accusing them of copyright infringement and threatening to sue and expose their porn habit unless they paid a modest “fine.”

Of course there would be no legal action and the criminals were banking on the user’s fear of their porn use being exposed to persuade them to pay up quickly and quietly.

This kind of scam has spawned a very lucrative industry for criminals, and these gangs can make an average of $5 million a year from a single scam, according to a study by security firm SecureWorks.

One of the reasons these scams are so successful is because victims are often unwilling to come forward and report the crime. Thousands of victims fell for this porn scam, including a school principal.

New ‘name to shame’ extortion scam targets porn users (NetworkWorld)

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