With the advent of advanced technology, individuals are able to accomplish tasks with greater ease and efficiency. However, there are those who misuse technology for their own gain and engage in illegal activities such as electronic extortion. In this article, we will explore what electronic extortion is, its various types, and how to effectively deal with it.

What does electronic extortion mean

Extortion, in its general sense, is the act of gaining material or moral benefits by exploiting another person’s weakness, whether it is temporary or permanent, and coercing them through physical or psychological harm.

With the rise of the internet, a new type of extortion has emerged called electronic extortion, which is defined by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development as a cybercrime that involves the use of information technology to assault tangible or intangible funds. It is a form of immoral and illegal behavior that uses modern technologies like computers and the internet.

How does it differ from traditional extortion?

Electronic extortion is a modern crime that poses a threat to individuals and society as a whole. It is based on fear and intimidation, and the perpetrator threatens to harm the victim or their loved ones by divulging their private and personal information. This crime is committed through electronic means and social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram, which are widely used by different groups in society.

The essence of electronic extortion is to coerce the victim into providing material or moral gains by using threats and intimidation to force compliance. It is a violation of the victim’s privacy and personal life, and anything that causes fear and pressure to harm the individual, their reputation, or their finances can be considered as electronic extortion.

Different Types of Electronic Extortion

Electronic extortion is a modern crime that uses the internet and other forms of electronic communication to exploit and intimidate victims for personal gain. Here, we will take a closer look at the different types of electronic extortion.

1- Physical Extortion

Physical extortion is based on stealing private information and data, including photos, from the victim’s device, whether it’s a personal computer, mobile phone, or work computer. The perpetrator then threatens to publish this information or data, or demands that the victim pay a sum of money in exchange for not publishing it.

2- Electronic Sexual Extortion

Electronic sexual extortion is a form of exploitation that involves sexual blackmail. It takes several forms, including stealing private content such as sexual photos or videos of the victim and threatening to publish it, forcibly removing sexual content from the victim, or forcing the victim to have sexual relations. Girls, especially minors, are often targeted, and perpetrators gain their trust by posing as a romantic partner or by showering them with affection. Unfortunately, this type of extortion has led to several cases of suicide among girls.

3- Utilitarian Extortion

Utilitarian extortion involves exploiting the victim’s power or influence to achieve personal gain. This type of extortion is prevalent among media and influential people. The perpetrator may demand that the victim use their influence to promote an event or release a person from prison.

4- Emotional Blackmail

Emotional blackmail is a form of extortion where the perpetrator takes a position that causes the victim to feel ashamed or blamed for something. The intent is to emotionally control the victim and coerce them into doing something they would not normally do.

Causes of Electronic Extortion

  • Moral decline of the offender, who may seek material, moral, or physical benefits from the victim.
  • Widespread use of social media, which is not optimally utilized and misused in a shameful way.
  • Content broadcasted on many sites that inflames emotional feelings, affecting emotionally immature and vulnerable young people who are susceptible to blackmail.
  • Lack of awareness of modern technology and how to use it.
  • Parents not supervising children, leaving them vulnerable to exploitation.

Effects of Electronic Extortion

Electronic extortion can have severe effects on victims. These include:

  1. Psychological disorders: Victims experience constant pressure from the perpetrator to comply with their demands, which can lead to anxiety, anticipation, constant tension, and fear. This pressure can also result in mental health disorders such as eating disorders, sleep disorders, poor decision-making, and nervous system disorders.
  2. Suicide: Victims may feel powerless to get rid of the blackmail and resort to ending their life through suicide.
  3. Social instability: Criminals often push their victims to commit heinous acts, such as theft and murder, in exchange for large sums of money. This can result in the collapse of social relations, family disintegration, and exposure to defamation and social abandonment.

Combating Electronic Extortion

There are ways to combat electronic extortion and protect oneself from its harmful effects. The first step is to control emotions and feelings, not leaving room for anxiety and fear or acting in an unconscious or irresponsible manner. It is also important to close all means of communication with the perpetrator and not enter into negotiations. Instead, victims should report the crime to the cybercrime department of the police, who can provide legal protection and end the case in complete secrecy.

Victims should not delete any content sent by the perpetrator or threatening messages received, as these can be used as evidence to convict the criminal. It is also essential to seek support from trusted family and friends during any emergency. It is crucial to remember that the criminal’s goal is to obtain a benefit, and he often only threatens without implementation to reach his objective. Therefore, victims should be patient in dealing with the perpetrator and buy time with them so that the specialized authorities can arrest and prosecute them.

In conclusion, electronic extortion has become a prevalent and dangerous phenomenon in recent years. It is essential for society to come together and combat this issue to preserve its security and stability against cybercriminals. Raising cultural and emotional awareness can help prevent and minimize the occurrence of electronic extortion. Let us work together to create a safer and more secure online community.

What is electronic extortion and how is it different from traditional extortion?

Electronic extortion is a form of cybercrime that involves using information technology to assault tangible or intangible funds, whereas traditional extortion usually involves threats of physical or psychological harm to coerce a victim into providing material or moral gains. The main difference is that electronic extortion is committed through electronic means and social media platforms, while traditional extortion typically involves face-to-face interactions or written communications.

What are the various types of electronic extortion?

There are several types of electronic extortion, including physical extortion (stealing private information and data), electronic sexual extortion (sexual blackmail), utilitarian extortion (exploiting the victim’s power or influence), and emotional blackmail (coercing the victim through guilt or shame).

What are the main causes of electronic extortion?

The causes of electronic extortion include the moral decline of the offender, widespread misuse of social media, exposure to emotionally provocative content, lack of awareness about modern technology, and insufficient parental supervision of children’s online activities.

What are the effects of electronic extortion on victims?

Electronic extortion can have severe effects on victims, such as psychological disorders, suicide, and social instability. The constant pressure to comply with the perpetrator’s demands can lead to anxiety, anticipation, constant tension, and fear, which in turn can result in mental health disorders and other negative consequences.

How can individuals protect themselves and combat electronic extortion?

Individuals can protect themselves and combat electronic extortion by controlling their emotions, not entering into negotiations with the perpetrator, reporting the crime to the cybercrime department of the police, preserving any content or messages from the perpetrator as evidence, seeking support from trusted family and friends, and being patient while specialized authorities work to arrest and prosecute the criminal.
Raising cultural and emotional awareness can also help prevent and minimize electronic extortion.