At Cyber Safe Workforce, our goal is to spread cyber awareness and, in turn, cyber safety. We encourage our clients to delete or report phishing messages, to use strong and unique passwords on important accounts, to watch out for shoulder surfers, and to lock their computers when stepping away. No one wants to be targeted by cybercrime, but the larger our presence is online, the greater the opportunity to be targeted by criminals.
Say you have a blog. You work hard on your content, build a following, and, eventually, you have enough traffic to start monetizing your blog through ads. It’s a major accomplishment. However, in a scammer’s eyes, it’s an opening for an extortion attempt.
When ad publishers like Google’s AdSense detect an unreasonable amount of traffic on a site, it will suspend ads and the revenue stream associated with them. This could be devastating to the website owner’s livelihood. Online, tech-savvy scammers are capitalizing on this fear. They threaten website owners with a bot attack that will lead to an ad suspension unless they pay a ransom. The website owner is left with a difficult decision: jeopardize their income, allow the attack to happen while pleading their case to Google, or pay the ransom.
Report the threat. Don’t pay the ransom.
It’s possible that it may be more cost effective for some to just pay the ransom, especially if they have a large revenue stream at risk. But, let’s think long term. What’s to stop the scammer from making the same threat next time?