How to go from sexting to sextortion

S2 Grupo has warned that the rise of dating apps has boosted the presence in them of cybercriminals who mainly seek to: steal photographs, extort or get some kind of financial benefit.
24 Feb 2022
2 Minutes of reading
  • The cybersecurity company has stressed that we must be very careful when sharing any private information or photographs through these environments because we lose power over them.

February 2022.- The use of dating apps has skyrocketed in recent years among both young people and adults. The cybersecurity company S2 Grupo has warned that this has led to an increase in cybercrime in these environments and the introduction of cyber risks in them.

"If it used to be weird to flirt online, now it's almost weird not to. And, of course, there is no problem with this. We just have to keep in mind that in any area where technology is implemented, there is a possibility of cybercrime sneaking in.  And this requires that we use these dating apps responsibly, knowing that whatever we share or post on them could become public domain information. There is only one step between sexting and sextortion", explained José Rosell, managing partner of S2 Grupo.

 "These applications are not only used by people who want to date. They are also used for other purposes such as getting photographs or even extorting the victims. Others manage to establish a relationship of trust and a bond with a person so that, when they let their guard down, they can obtain some economic benefit or directly ask for money," warned Miguel A. Juan, managing partner of S2 Grupo.

These are some of the most common cyber risks in dating applications:

1.- Moving from sexting to sextortion.- Although the first contact is usually through text messages in the apps themselves, the next step is usually to communicate through other platforms such as Whatsapp, Instagram or Snapchat. The goal is usually to send risque photos, the well-known "sexting" or, as young people say, "making nudes".  S2 Grupo has pointed out that this is a high-risk practice whether it is done with someone you trust (in the future we do not know what relationship we will have) and, even more so, with a stranger. "We have to keep in mind that many profiles are fake and have been created precisely to obtain photos of this type and then blackmail in some way. This is how we move from sexting to sextortion", said José Rosell.


2.- The date itself with a stranger - Beyond the possibility of being a victim of a scam or economic blackmail, one of the most serious dangers is that the alleged aggressor wants to meet the victim in person. Therefore, it is recommended not to give personal information, not to send photographs and, if there is a date, to have it in a public place.

3.- Not verifying the "reality" of the person: It is very important to use applications such as or Google Images to check that the images of the person we are talking to are real and to verify that they do not correspond to a fake profile.

4.- Gaining trust to ask for money - This practice is also one of the most frequent. It consists of creating a great relationship of intimacy and, when trust is already achieved, allude to an illness, past problem or similar, for which money is required and, then, the victim is asked for it. Of course, it is always argued that it will be returned, but this is not the case and it usually disappears.

5.- Distribution of malware: "We must not forget that cybercriminals often hide under attractive profiles to be the ones who, with the excuse of sending photos, sneak malware that infects victims' computers or install spyware, for example, to find out their passwords, bank details, conversations, etc.," assured Miguel A. Juan.



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