The Porn Spam Keeps Coming—What Are You Doing Wrong?

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Categories: Alert, Email Scams



Forget racy web surfing and possible “video capture” of user activities—these threats are all about user security—starting with passwords.

The Porn Spam Keeps Coming—What Are You Doing Wrong?

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Porn scams have become the digital equivalent of yesterday’s door-to-door magazine salesmen—they show up on your doorstep unannounced and disrupt your day. They keep on coming, and you have no idea what to do to make them stop arriving.

Before we discuss what you can do, please know that you are not alone. With the advent of Bitcoin and other “cryptocurrencies,” it’s become much easier for thieves to extort innocent people anonymously. Scaring them into thinking they have access to dirty secrets appears to be a great way of doing it.

If you or your personnel receive email claiming the sender has a recording of someone surfing porn sites, or has compromising pictures he or she will share, know the threat is likely not real. Even when people have actually been visiting racy places online, that’s not likely why they receive one of these messages. Email scams are about numbers—the more people a criminal scares, the greater their chances of a payoff.

A decade ago, the main avenue for scammers (and spammers) to get emails addresses was for people to share them with another site—often a porn, game or low-end software site—that sold them to other bottom feeders. Today, information is still being harvested, but the mechanism is different.

In the current environment, Internet users are creating accounts on legitimate sites where they share their email (and other) information. If they protect that account with a low-security password, the likelihood it will be hacked is very high. Every minute of every day, scammers have “bots” trolling the Internet, testing out low-security passwords until they get into someone’s account. (Data breaches are another way scammers acquire our information, but that is a discussion for another day.)

Lax online practices—from insecure passwords on easily hacked sites to social media profiles with too much information—are a scammer’s dream. They are also the main avenue by which Bitcoin scammers access your information. To reduce the odds of receiving porn scam emails, Internet users should:

  1. Create and maintain strong passwords on every site.
  2. Don’t accept site or app requests (including silly quizzes) that require your email address unless you have checked out the requestor first. (Your security software may help with this. A quick Internet search of the name with words like “safe app” or “secure site” may also help.)
  3. Review your social media profiles to ensure you aren’t sharing too much information.
  4. Avoid silly quizzes that require sharing email (or want access to friends lists).

Finally, if you receive a porn scam email, ignore it. Responding in any way will only validate your email address.

Want to know more about how to keep your company secure? Click here to see how Carmichael’s Security Services can help.