Email sextortion scams are on the rise and they’re scary — here’s what to do if you get one

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Overall, extortion by email is growing significantly, according to the FBI’s Internet Crime Compliant Center (IC3). Last year, these complaints rose 242% to 51,146 reported crimes, with total losses of $83 million.

“The majority of extortion complaints received in 2018 were part of a sextortion campaign in which victims received an email threatening to send a pornographic video of them or other compromising information to family, friends, coworkers or social network contacts if a ransom was not paid,” according to the FBI

“Shame can be a tremendous weapon that these criminals use,” one expert explains.

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The U.S. is purging Chinese cancer researchers from top institutions

 

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The NIH and the FBI are targeting ethnic Chinese scientists, including U.S. citizens, searching for a cancer cure. Here’s the first account of what happened to Xifeng Wu.

The dossier on cancer researcher Xifeng Wu was thick with intrigue, if hardly the stuff of a spy thriller. It contained findings that she’d improperly shared confidential information and accepted a half-dozen advisory roles at medical institutions in China. She might have weathered those allegations, but for a larger aspersion that was far more problematic: She was branded an oncological double agent.

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FBI sees driverless cars as a ‘potential lethal weapon’

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FBI is more optimistic about the benefits of driverless cars when it comes to surveillance efforts.

Self-driving cars are a “potential lethal weapon,” but could make surveillance “more effective and easier,” according to FBI claims in an internal report surfaced by the Guardian.

 

 

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Massive FBI facial recognition database raises concerns about privacy

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The FBI plans to start using facial recognition software.

Most technology watchers believe we shouldn’t be overly concerned just yet about the privacy implications of facial recognition technology because it isn’t yet sophisticated enough to identify people accurately,

 

 

 

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FBI can secretly activate a laptop’s webcam without the indicator light turning on

How far  will the FBI will go with its use of malware to spy on people?

The FBI has had the ability to secretly activate a computer’s camera “without triggering the light that lets users know it is recording” for years now, according to a Washington Post report.

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NSA scans 75% of all U.S. internet traffic

The NSA’s surveillance network covers more Americans’ Internet communications than officials have publicly disclosed.

The existence of several NSA programs that allow for far greater surveillance than the government has admitted to, and, importantly, detail how the government forces Internet service providers (ISPs) to hand over raw data, Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday.

 

 

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Facebook helps FBI bust botnet crime ring

Facebook became involved in the fight after botnets also targeted the social network.

According to an announcement this week, the FBI arrested 10 people associated with the a crime ring pushing the malware Yahos.   The malware has affected over 11 million people. Facebook’s security team helped the FBI by identifying both the criminals and the victims.

 

 

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Record number of guns bought by Americans for Christmas

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The actual number of guns bought may have been even higher if individual customers took home more than one each.

Over 1.5 million background checks on customers were requested by gun dealers to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System in December, according to the FBI. Nearly 500,000 of those were in the six days before Christmas.

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Violent Crime Rate Down in U.S. for Third Year in a Row

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Violent crime declined for third straight year.

The violent crime rate in the United States went down in 2009 for the third year in a row and the property crime rate fell for the seventh consecutive year, the FBI reported Monday. The decline last year amounted to 5.5% for violent crime compared to 2008 and the rate for property crime was down 4.9%.

 

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