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Cyberthreats & Adult Websites – The Facts

Besides the damage and difficulty brought into the lives of those using pornography, a lesser known risk is the threat of financial fraud and undermined personal privacy.

Besides the damage and difficulty brought into the lives of those using pornography, a lesser known risk is the threat of financial fraud and undermined personal privacy. An article posted on Kaspersky website on January 31, 2018 entitled “Naked online: cyberthreats facing users of adult websites and applications” presents the numbers and potential problems use of both desktop computers and mobile devices in accessing online pornography. From the article:

When it comes to threats users may face when consuming porn on a desktop computer, we divide these into two major categories: phishing and malware. While malware is something that PC users are more likely to encounter than Mac users, phishing scams are a common threat to both platforms, so we’ll start there.

Threats to desktop users:

Kaspersky Lab identified at least 27 variations of PC malware, belonging to three infamous families, which specifically hunt for credentials to paid-for porn websites. In 2017, these malicious families were seen more than 300,000 times, attempting to attack more than 50,000 PCs across the world.

Threats to mobile users:

In 2017, at least 1.2 million users encountered malware with adult content at least once. That is 25.4% of all users who encountered any type of Android malware. Mobile malware is making extensive use of porn to attract users: Kaspersky Lab researchers identified 23 families of mobile malware that use porn content to hide their real functionality. Malicious clickers, rooting malware, and banking Trojans are the types of malware that are most often found inside porn apps for Android.

When we talk about mobile threats, we mean threats such as malware targeting Android users. Android Trojans actively use porn themes, generally distributed from fake porn sites that users are apparently redirected to through advertising on genuine sites. The reason for the uncertainty around dissemination is that redirection depends on many parameters (e.g. the mobile operator, country, device type etc.), which makes it extremely difficult to reconstruct the entire user’s path. In addition, each of the advertising servers in the chain of redirects can change advertising at any time. As a result, it becomes increasingly difficult to track the intruders.

As our overview has shown, adult content serves as a tool for cybercriminals to lure victims into fraudulent schemes involving phishing, PC and Android malware. The outcome of such involvement is loss of financial data or even direct money loss and compromised privacy. It would be fair to say that the very same consequences come from any other type of malicious attack, whether they use adult content or not. The difference is that, in general, victims of porn malware, especially the most severe scareware types of it, are unlikely to report the crime to anyone, because they would have to admit they were looking for or watching porn. As we said earlier, the latter is not necessary perceived as something that it is OK to be proud of or even to let others know about. Perhaps this is the reason why criminals use adult content in their schemes so actively. They know that porn by default attracts a lot of users, and that victims of porn-related malware would keep quiet about the incident rather than disclose it.”

We would highly recommend reading the full article here. We have quoted a small portion of the information presented. Given this was published over 18 mos. ago, we know the threat has only grown.

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