Yesterday Sophos Labs published an in-depth report on the phenomenon of sextortion, a scam that takes place via email asking for ransoms in bitcoin.
Half a million dollars is how much criminals have collected in a few months with simple emails threatening to publish videos and private images. To prevent this from happening, victims are required to make a bitcoin (BTC) payment of about $800.
In reality, the criminals don’t have any private images or videos in their possession, but they pretend to have them, giving other personal information such as old passwords or something else.
This, and the fear of being exposed all over the web, obviously leads users to send money.
Sextortion and Bitcoin: the data
Considering that Bitcoin is a pseudo-anonymous system, seeing that the blockchain is public, it is possible to track the movements of money received by criminals. This is what has been done in this report, revealing that they have earned as much as 50 bitcoins (BTC) with an average of about $3100 per day.
In addition to collecting these BTC, criminals have also managed to convert them and cash them out thanks to exchanges such as Binance but not only, in fact the report also mentions LocalBitcoins.
These are the transactions:
- Binance, 70 transactions;
- LocalBitcoins, 48 transactions;
- Coinpayments, 30 transactions;
- Other platforms 45 transactions;
- Another 54 unrecognized address transactions.
When analyzing the map of these attacks and the countries most affected, the first place is Vietnam, with a percentage of 7%; the second place is Brazil with 5.9% and third on the podium is Argentina with 4.8%.
In Europe, the average is 3%, so criminals do not seem to have much grip on European users, whereas South American and East Asian populations seem to be more affected.