How to Fight Online Blackmail and Digital Extortion

blackmail written

The digital age has made blackmail and extortion even easier. Hackers can use various techniques to acquire blackmail material. Scammers will even lie about having material to try and squeeze money out of their victims. If a hacker or scammer tries to blackmail you, it can be tough to figure out what to do. This article will teach you how to fight online blackmail and digital extortion.

Forms of Online Blackmail and Digital Extortion

Online Blackmail Porn Email
Emails like this are a common form of blackmail online. | Source: Techlicious

There is a distinction between blackmail and extortion that is important, even online.

When someone threatens to reveal embarrassing information about you, that is blackmail. A good example of blackmail is the “blackmail for watching porn” case. These scammers threaten to release videos of the victim watching pornography to their family and friends unless they pay.

Extortion, on the other hand, involves some form of threat of harm. In the real world, extortion usually involves threats of violence, but not in the digital world. Online, a good example of digital extortion is ransomware. Malicious software designed to lock a victim’s computer unless they pay a ransom is a clear example of digital extortion.

In both cases, these are serious criminal offenses, and you should treat them accordingly.

How to Fight Online Blackmail and Digital Extortion

When it comes to online blackmail and digital extortion, you could have a few different responses depending on the situation. Below are a few steps you should take when a hacker or scammer targets you.

Online Blackmail

Depending on the type of online blackmail, there are a few things you need to do. The first step is for you to determine whether the blackmailer is a scammer or a hacker. Our guide on the pornography blackmail scheme will teach you how to spot a scam.

The key point to look out for is proof. When a genuine blackmailer messages, they’ll provide you with proof of the material they have on you. If someone sends you a message that doesn’t refer to you by name and contains no images or footage, it’s almost certainly a scammer.

If you’re convinced that your blackmailer is a scammer, then you can safely ignore them without concern.

You should carefully consider your response if the hacker proves themselves legitimate. Under no circumstances should you pay the hacker. If you pay, the hacker will keep demanding more money in the future, creating a never-ending cycle.

In most cases, your best option is to face the subject of blackmail itself. If it’s something that you can come to terms with, sharing it yourself removes all power from the blackmailer. Without anything to embarrass or harm you with, the hacker won’t make money from you.

Digital Extortion

WanaCry - Digital Extortion
Ransomware is a common form of digital extortion. | Source: Wanacry

Digital extortion can be a little harder to deal with than online blackmail. If your computer or other devices are being held to ransom, you should immediately stop using them. Disconnect affected devices from the internet and make sure they remain switched off. If you continue using blocked devices, you could cause further harm.

Avoid paying the ransom, as it’s doubtful that you will regain access to your devices afterward. Instead, hackers are likely to retain access to your system and either mine your data or demand even more money.

If you’re physically threatened, then you should immediately contact the authorities.

How We Can Help

If you’ve been the victim of online blackmail or digital extortion, contact us. We can protect you against hackers and scammers with our comprehensive security audits and our monthly protection plans. If you have any questions about a case of online blackmail or digital extortion, feel free to message us at [email protected] with the details.

Featured image by arda savasciogullari from Shutterstock.com


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William Worrall
A gaming and technology writer who has been building computers and tinkering with software since he was a teenager. Previously involved with various prestigious websites, including TechRaptor.net and CCN.COM. Now tutorial creator for Hacked.com.

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