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Sextortion is a form of blackmail where malicious actors threaten to publicly leak explicit images and videos of their targets. This scheme is resulting in millions of dollars in losses and normally involves the threat actor coercing or stealing the digital materials from their victims. In many cases, the threat actors do not have the compromising content, and are instead pretending to have access to scare their victims into paying the extortion demand. A new scheme has recently become popular with the help of technological advancements. Sextortionist are now creating AI deepfakes using otherwise benign content posted online to produce sexually explicit images or videos. Even though the deepfakes aren’t genuine, they look very real and publishing it could still cause great personal and reputational harm to the victim. To protect yourself, it is recommended that when posting images or videos online, to restrict viewing access to a small private circle of friends to reduce exposure. Parents should monitor their children’s online activity and talk to them about the risks associated with sharing personal media online.

This segment was created for the It’s 5:05 podcast