Cyber 'sextortion' ring on the prowl

Cyber 'sextortion' ring on the prowl

KUALA LUMPUR - Malaysians are advised to be wary of a "sextortion" scam where perpetrators pose as beautiful women online and coerce Netizens into performing cybersex.

The suspects then secretly record their lewd activities to blackmail their victims later, said CyberSecurity Malaysia.

The cyber security agency under the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation (MOSTI) said the victims were usually teenagers or middle-aged men, who would be approached on social media by "beautiful, sexy women purportedly from the Philippines, Japan and Korea".

"The perpetrator will ask the victim to video chat with her using Skype by using attractive words to lure the victim.

"The perpetrator will take off her clothes and will request the victim to do so too.

"By doing this, the perpetrator will start to record the victim in inappropriate positions via the webcam, without the victim realising that his acts are being recorded.

"The perpetrator will later play the recorded video footage to the victim and start to blackmail him to pay a certain amount of money, failing which his video footage would be circulated among his friends or family or uploaded on YouTube," said the agency.

The agency's computer emergency response team noted an increasing number of local cyber blackmail scam incidents, with 512 cyber harassment cases being reported in 2013, as opposed to 300 cases in 2012 and 459 cases in 2011.

"If you are a victim, discontinue communicating with the perpetrator and make all your social networking accounts private so the perpetrator will not be able to reach you and your friends.

"Keep all relevant data such as chat logs, screenshots, e-mails as evidence for reporting and lodge a police report," the agency advised.

As a preventive measure, CyberSecurity Malaysia recommends Netizens configure their Skype to restrict communications by doing the following: Go to > Tools > Options > Privacy > Only Allow IMs, Calls etc from People on my Contact List > SAVE.

The agency urged any victims of cyber crime to report it by e-mailing cyber99@cybersecurity.my.

News agency AFP reported that several Malaysians and other nationalities worldwide may have been victims of a global Internet "sextortion" network after Interpol arrested 58 people in The Philippines.

Philippine police chief Alan Purisima said the suspects would be charged with a range of crimes, including engaging in child pornography, extortion and using technologies to commit fraud.

A joint taskforce, called Operation Strikeback has been created at an Interpol meeting to tackle the "growing number of sextortion victims in Hong Kong, Indonesia, Singapore, the Philippines, Britain and the United States", according to Purisima.

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