Cyber Extortion: What is it and how can Bond Rees help?

What is cyber extortion and how can private investigators help?

With most of our lives now spread across the internet and everyone connected online in one way or another, cases of cyber extortion are on the rise with devastating consequences. At Bond Rees, our UK private investigators we understand how to tackle these cases head on before they can escalate. In this article we will break down everything you need to know about cyber extortion, what to look out for, and how we can help bring justice to your attackers. 

What is cyber extortion? 

Cyber extortion is the broad name given to certain cybercrimes that involve blackmail, whereby a hacker illegally accesses your individual data, or your company’s data, and attempts to blackmail you into providing information or money lest they reveal it. Whilst this is not an uncommon problem for many businesses, in the past week Change Healthcare has been in the news after being targeted by cybercriminals for a second time,  it is steadily growing more common for the average person to experience it too. 

In these cases, people can find themselves being catfished through online dating and once the cybercriminal has confidential information or sensitive photos of you, they begin to blackmail you. 

Bond Rees private investigators are experts in handling cyber extortion cases

Types of cyber extortion 

Most instances of cyber extortion can be split into the following categories: 


A ransomware attack is where a system is infected by malware that encrypts data. This makes it so the owner of the system can not access their own files. The hackers will then hold files hostage until the victim has paid up. Failure to do so can sometimes lead to important information being leaked onto the dark web. 

Email-based Extortion 

Email-based Extortion is fairly common, in fact it’s likely that you will have received an attempt at it yourself. It is where hackers will pretend to be someone else in an email exchange in order to get confidential information. This could be financial information, for example pretending to be a friend (or Nigerian Prince)  in need so you send them money, or login details for your online bank account. 

DDoS Attack

A DDoS attack, or a Distributed denial-of-service attack, is aimed towards websites and apps. It involves cyber criminals artificially flooding a server with traffic so that the website crashes and is no longer accessible to other people. They will then offer to call off the attack if the owner of the website pays the ransom. 

Cyber Blackmail

This is where a cybercriminal will claim to have personal data which they will threaten to leak if the victim doesn’t pay up. Sextortion is a version of this, and one that has received notable media coverage in recent years. In these instances blackmailers will claim to have nude images or videos that they will threaten to leak. Often the fear of public embarrassment drives a victim to pay the ransom, or, in some cases, even take their own lives. 


There have been instances of teenagers getting snared by bad actors who catfish, pretending to be somebody else, and then extorting them after they get them to send sexual videos of themselves. This is called Sextortion. This is becoming more common and has even led to instances of suicided due to the shame. Teenagers are seen as easy targets and often require education to be safe online. 

How can you protect yourself against cyber extortion and other cyber attacks?

How can you protect yourself from cyber extortion? 

Whilst cyber extortion can happen to anyone, there are steps you can take to protect yourself against cyber extortion, and warning signs to look out for that might tell you if something isn’t quite right. 

  • Don’t click on mysterious links – if there’s a link in an email you don’t recognise, don’t click it. 
  • Check URLs – unauthorised websites tend to be built by scammers. The fast way to check a website is secure is making sure there is a lock by the url in your browser. Make sure a website is secure before you input any details.
  • Change your passwords – make sure you have strong passwords on all of your accounts.
  • Check for data breaches – there are multiple online resources that can help you determine if your data is secure, including if your password has been leaked. 
  • Check the language – if the spelling and grammar in an email from your ‘bank’ isn’t correct, it is probably not from your bank! 
  • Ask – if you receive a concerning email from a friend, relative, or organisation double check that it was them who sent it before you input information or send any money. 
  • Keep your social media private – cybercriminals can gain a lot of information from your social media profiles. 
  • Check what the email or text message is asking you to do, For example your bank will never request your details in an email or text. 
  • Run a reverse image search – if you find yourself talking to an online date that might be too good to be true, try running their profile image through a reverse image search. 
  • Don’t send any videos or photos of yourself to people you don’t know – If you’ve just met someone online, do not send anything to them that could come back to haunt you. Once it is out there, you no longer control it. 

How can Bond Rees help victims of cyber extortion? 

When you are a victim of cyber extortion it can feel like the end of the world. But don’t panic, Bond Rees are here to help you. With a highly experienced team of cyber security experts on call 24/7, we have handled hundreds of cyber extortion cases and understand how to get the results you need. 

We use digital forensics, people tracing, and financial tracking methods to identify the perpetrators and locate them. Our 98.7% success rate in people tracing means we are confident we can identify your attackers. We will pass this information, and any evidence we find, onto the authorities who will be able to get you justice. 

Bond Rees are also able to give you advice on your next steps and help minimise the damage cyber extortion can cause, including preventing your information being leaked. We understand that these cases require sensitivity and care, and take great lengths to ensure that we provide you with non-judgmental support throughout the whole process. 

If you have concerns about cyber extortion contact Bond Rees today.

If you, or someone you love, have fallen victim to any kind of cyber extortion or blackmail we can help stop the harassment. Our private investigators are available 24/7 to take your call.

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