What is Cyber Kidnapping ? Find Out Here


What is cyber kidnapping?

Rising Cyber Crimes and Criminals around the globe are coming up everyday with something to cheat or dup people about and anyhow just extort money from them using the latest technology tools. one of such incident is came to light in new year 2024 lets find out about cyber kidnapping below.

Cyber kidnapping refers to a crime where the ‘kidnappers’ convince their victim to hide, and then contact their loved ones for ransom. The victim is also made to send pictures that make it look like they are being held captive — showing them bound or gagged. These are then shared with the family. Both parties believe their loved ones will be harmed if they don’t do as the kidnappers ask.

The ‘kidnappers’, though not physically present, monitor the victim online through video-call platforms.

In the Utah boy’s case too, his parents were sent a picture indicating he had been kidnapped. The police believe he was being manipulated by the kidnappers since December 20. He was traced by analysing call data and bank records.

According to the FBI’s website, “Although virtual kidnapping takes on many forms, it is always an extortion scheme—one that tricks victims into paying a ransom to free a loved one they believe is being threatened with violence or death. Unlike traditional abductions, virtual kidnappers have not actually kidnapped anyone. Instead, through deceptions and threats, they coerce victims to pay a quick ransom before the scheme falls apart.”

Experts believe that with the rise of Artificial Intelligence (AI), such crimes can rise, as scammers can send people voice notes that sound exactly like a loved one in distress. Last year, an Arizona woman testified in the US Senate about receiving just such a call. When Jennifer DeStefano picked up a call from an unknown number, “her 15-year-old daughter”, crying, told her some “bad men” had her. A man then threatened her and demanded ransom. After she cut the call, she called up her daughter, and realised she was safe.

While there is no clear data yet on how many such crimes occur each year, law enforcement experts say they are on the rise.

A BBC report from July 2020 mentions that eight cases of cyber kidnap had been reported in Australia that year, all targeting Chinese students.

How to protect yourself and loved ones from cyber kidnapping?

Experts recommend being extra careful with calls from unknown numbers, though cyber criminals can also make it appear like they are calling from a loved one’s number.

Scammers can use data you have shared on social media to make their calls more convincing, so be careful of what you share about yourself and your children online, specially names, specific locations, pictures of your home, neighbourhood, or children’s school.

Cybercrime is a persistent and evolving threat that has been on the rise in recent years. Several factors contribute to the increasing prevalence of cybercrimes. Here are some key aspects associated with the rise in cybercrimes:

  1. Technological Advancements :

    • As technology continues to advance, new opportunities for cybercriminals emerge. The proliferation of internet-connected devices, increased reliance on cloud services, and the growth of digital platforms create a larger attack surface for potential exploitation.
  2. Sophistication of Attacks:

    • Cybercriminals have become more sophisticated in their tactics, techniques, and procedures. Advanced persistent threats (APTs), ransomware attacks, and social engineering techniques are continually evolving, making it challenging for individuals and organizations to defend against them.
  3. Global Connectivity:

    • The interconnected nature of the global economy and the widespread use of the internet make it easier for cybercriminals to target victims across borders. This interconnectedness also allows for the rapid spread of malware and the coordination of attacks on a global scale.
  4. Monetary Incentives:

    • Many cybercrimes are financially motivated. Cybercriminals target individuals, businesses, and organizations to steal sensitive information, commit fraud, or extort money through ransomware attacks. The potential for financial gain serves as a strong incentive for cybercriminals.
  5. Anonymity and Attribution Challenges:

    • The anonymity provided by the internet and the difficulty of attributing cybercrimes to specific individuals or groups make it challenging for law enforcement to apprehend and prosecute cybercriminals. This lack of accountability can embolden criminals to engage in cyber activities.
  6. Insider Threats:

    • Insider threats, whether intentional or unintentional, pose a significant risk to cybersecurity. Employees or individuals with access to sensitive information may inadvertently or purposefully compromise security, leading to data breaches or other cyber incidents.
  7. Exploitation of Emerging Technologies:

    • Cybercriminals often exploit vulnerabilities in emerging technologies, such as the Internet of Things (IoT), artificial intelligence (AI), and 5G networks. As these technologies become more prevalent, the attack surface expands, providing new opportunities for cyber threats.
  8. Lack of Cybersecurity Awareness:

    • Insufficient awareness and education about cybersecurity among individuals and organizations contribute to the success of cybercrimes. Phishing attacks, for example, often rely on human error, and a lack of awareness can lead individuals to fall victim to these tactics.

To address the rising threat of cybercrimes, it is crucial for individuals, businesses, and governments to invest in robust cybersecurity measures, stay informed about the latest threats, and implement best practices for online safety and data protection. Additionally, international cooperation and coordinated efforts are essential for combating cybercrime effectively.

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