NOIDA: A new wave of sextortion cases involving morphed videos is wreaking havoc in India. Cybercriminals have escalated their deceitful tactics by demanding even larger sums of money from victims, using morphed dead videos of the girl captured in the nude footage.
Law enforcement agencies suspect that scammers are employing advanced technologies such as deep fake and artificial intelligence (AI) tools to generate these deceptive videos.
The modus operandi of these criminals begins with recording a victim’s video during a video call. The scammers then manipulate the original video by combining it with a morphed nude video, resulting in a highly compromising situation for the victim. Subsequently, they demand a substantial amount of money as ransom to prevent the release of the manipulated video to the victim’s contacts and social media platforms.
What sets this new wave of sextortion apart is the scammers’ subsequent threats. When victims hesitate to pay the demanded ransom, the criminals go one step further by presenting yet another morphed video.
In this video, a woman who is supposedly the same person featured in the initial video is shown to have tragically taken her own life due to the embarrassment caused by the video’s circulation. These additional threats are designed to intensify the psychological pressure on the victims and coerce them into compliance.
Law enforcement agencies are deeply concerned about the increasing sophistication of these criminal operations. The utilization of deep fake technology or other AI tools to produce realistic morphed videos underscores the evolving capabilities of scammers. These tools enable the manipulation of digital content in a manner that is virtually indistinguishable from genuine footage, making it challenging for victims to discern the fabricated nature of the videos.
Authorities have emphasized the need for individuals to exercise caution while engaging in online activities and to be wary of sharing sensitive content. They recommend using secure communication platforms and implementing strict privacy settings to minimize the risk of falling victim to such scams. Additionally, individuals are advised to report any suspicious activity to the authorities immediately, as prompt action can help mitigate the extent of harm caused by these cybercriminals.
Law enforcement agencies, in collaboration with cybersecurity experts, are actively working to identify and track down these criminals. The investigation into the source of the deep fake technology and the networks facilitating these scams is ongoing, with authorities employing advanced digital forensics techniques to gather evidence and build strong cases against the perpetrators.
To address the growing threat of sextortion and other cybercrimes, authorities are also focusing on enhancing public awareness and education. Initiatives aimed at educating individuals about online safety, responsible internet use, and recognizing common tactics employed by scammers are being conducted across various platforms, including social media, educational institutions, and community outreach programs.
As the battle against sextortion and cybercrime continues, it is crucial for individuals to remain vigilant, stay informed about the latest scams, and prioritize their digital security. By working together with law enforcement agencies, cybersecurity experts, and the general public, it is possible to mitigate the impact of these malicious activities and create a safer online environment for all.
The new modus operandi employed by this gang of cybercriminals in India involves a step-by-step process to manipulate and extort money from their victims. Here is a detailed explanation of their operation:
Step 1: Identifying Potential Targets
The gang selects their victims through various means, including online platforms, social media, or other digital channels. They may specifically target individuals who are active on video calling applications or those who have a significant online presence.
Step 2: Initiating the Video Call
Once a potential victim has been identified, the scammers initiate a video call with them under false pretenses. They may pose as a potential romantic interest, a business associate, or someone seeking help. The objective is to establish trust and ensure the victim engages in a video call.
Step 3: Recording the Victim’s Video
During the video call, the criminals discreetly record the victim’s video without their knowledge or consent. They employ screen recording software or other methods to capture the entire interaction.
Step 4: Morphing the Videos
Using advanced tools such as deep fake technology or other AI-powered software, the scammers morph the recorded video of the victim with a pre-existing nude video. This manipulated video gives the impression that the victim is engaged in explicit activities, even though it is entirely fabricated.
Step 5: Demanding Money
Armed with the manipulated video, the gang contacts the victim and reveals their possession of the compromising footage. They demand a substantial amount of money, threatening to release the video publicly if their demands are not met. The victims are coerced into paying to prevent potential embarrassment, social stigma, or damage to their reputation.
Step 6: Intimidation Tactics
If the victim hesitates or refuses to comply with the initial demand, the scammers escalate their tactics. They produce another manipulated video, this time featuring a woman purportedly committing suicide due to the distress caused by being featured in the explicit video with the victim. This additional video serves as a means to further intimidate the victim into submission.
Step 7: Exploiting Fear and Emotional Distress
By leveraging the victim’s fear, guilt, and emotional vulnerability, the scammers strive to maximize their chances of receiving the requested payment. The potential consequences of the videos being released, along with the distressing content of the morphed suicide video, are intended to manipulate the victim into immediate compliance.
Step 8: Continual Extortion
In some instances, even after receiving payment, the gang may continue to exploit the victim. They might demand further sums of money, threatening to release additional manipulated videos or to disseminate the existing ones to a wider audience. This ongoing extortion may persist until the victim decides to break contact or report the incident to the authorities.