The internet purports to offer the cover of anonymity for embarrassing vices, but that is not always the case, as the number of people whose reputation has been ruined by the Ashley Madison hacks have learned. Now there is a new class of online/cellphone virus called ransomware.
This often preys on the user’s fear of being exposed. For example, in a recent case, a porn app takes your picture, take over your device, and blocks your phone, supposedly on the grounds of your using child pornography. It demands $500 to unfreeze your phone and make it all go away. Thus blackmail and extortion enter the information age. [Read more…]