Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Cyber criminals devise new trick to extort money from Internet users

Guard yourself against spear attack

Cyber criminals devise new trick to extort money from Internet users

You might be the next victim of spear attack.
Also called spear phishing, cyber criminals have hit upon a sophisticated form of attack on Internet users by targeting a particular user after getting details about them and then launching an attack.
First, they will send an email saying that your computer has been attacked.
Then, they will accuse you of having a hidden file containing a child pornography clip. They will ask you to pay up otherwise they would tell the law enforcement agencies.
Although the user gets an email saying that his computer is under attack, it is difficult to detect it unless expert help is sought.
"Victims receive emails saying that their computer has been attacked or hacked into and there is child porn clip stored in it. The sender then says that if you don't pay up, the information about the clip would be leaked to his employers or law enforcement agencies," said Sahir Hidayatullah, a cyber security expert.
Fearing police action, innocent users pay up to avoid getting into legal action.
This form of extorting money online was earlier observed in Europe. With an increase in the use of the internet, it is being witnessed in the Indian cyber space.
"The sum demanded by the criminals is not a hefty one. It could be anything between $100 and $200. The victims pay to avoid getting into any kind of trouble so that the incident is not informed to agencies," said Hidayatullah.
Though the number of such attacks launched in the Indian cyber space is not known, but experts suspect that it could be no less than the Nigerian phishing attacks in which thousands of people have been duped.
"No such case has been reported to us but such attacks can be launched and innocent users would fall prey to it. The only thing one could do is to report the matter to the police and agencies so that the sender could be traced. If the sender is operating from within the country, he can be traced and police action can be initiated against them," said a senior police officer.

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