The other sextortion: Data breach extortion and how to spot it

Sextortion is a serious crime that has negatively impacted thousands worldwide with an estimated 10,000 or more currently at risk. While this crime has garnered some headlines, there is a different type of sextortion that has been plaguing the cyber world — that of data breach extortion. 

What are sextortion and data breach extortion?

Sextortion refers to a crime that involves an abuse of power through coercion, and this coercion is sexual in nature. The criminals may demand nude photographs or some other kind of sexual act in exchange for not violating the victim’s privacy. This catastrophically impacts the lives of victims and can have far-reaching emotional consequences for the victim.

Data breach extortion is the other type of sextortion that falls within the realm of information security. It is when cybercriminals claim that they have exfiltrated sensitive data from the victim, typically an organization, and demand that a payment is made to them in exchange for them not leaking the information to the public. This payment is normally made in bitcoin and the payment demand can range from $1,000 to $3,000 worth of bitcoin.

Cybercriminals engaging in data breach extortion are following in the footsteps of ransomware that

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