Sextortion, although a new terminology in the world of cyber-crime, is an age-old technique of extorting money that includes sexual activity. In the case of sextortion, an imposter befriends a victim and then coerces them to perform sexual activities on camera, which is then recorded without consent. These recordings are then used to blackmail the victim and extort money. Often, the culprit takes it to the next level and threatens to leak the images and videos if the victim doesn't submit to performing sexual activity with them in real.
Sextortion happens via social media platforms and gaming portals where youth get connected with strangers from anywhere in the world.
The easy access to the world-wide-web has given rise to numerous cyber pornography rackets. The advent of technology and easy transmission has enabled the sale and distribution of pornography worldwide, therefore making it to the list of top cyber crimes against youth. And in India, child pornography has seen a steep rise, as a close family associate generally commits such crimes.
"When staying indoors became a mandate, overworked parents assumed that keeping the kids and the youth busy on smart devices within the four walls is keeping them safe. But, the excessive consumption of the internet and easy accessibility to smartphones has put them at high risk of cybercrime vulnerabilities," says India's top ethical hacker and cyber security expert, Mr. Falgun Rathod.
According to National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), the Crime in India 2020 report, the country saw an increase of up to 12 % in cyber-crimes, as it saw a great dip in serious crimes such as theft and murders, as much of the country was under a lockdown. "This number has multiplied this year, as the dark web is getting smarter by the day in tapping into various vulnerabilities of the online youth," says Rathod.
With the sudden spurt in the world going cashless and paving the way for digital transactions, the upwardly mobile youth is at risk of being a cyber-crime victim at every step of their online presence. In the world of digital transactions, a cyber-fraud is committed to extracting a person's financial and personal information. People must be more vigilant than ever in today's times. Citizens have to be alert and not divulge their personal information to strangers.
Another major concern is mobile and system hacking. About 2,244 cyber-attacks happen every day, essentially meaning one system is hacked every second. And this is done again to steal personal and financial information. How is this information used to commit a crime? Well, the possibilities are just endless.
According to the Indian Computer Energy Response Team, there has been an increase in cybercrime by 600%. A noteworthy mention here is that 56% of these crimes are conducted by youth aged 16-25 years of age. High rates of unemployment and the lure to make a quick buck have led to committing these crimes. And sadly, the youth of the same age group are falling prey to these crimes.
As attractive as the world behind the screen is, the threat there is equally potent. It is vital to stay on toes and safeguard oneself from the invisible monster of cyber fraud.