No sense in pretending this isn’t an issue; few things generate as much traffic online as pornography.
One company alone — Pornhub — said it attracted 23 billion visits from around the world last year, and they collectively viewed nearly 92 billion videos.
The hackers then used the photos to try to extort money from people. We saw a variation of this scheme in “Shut Up and Dance,” the third episode of the third series of the British sci-fi video series “Black Mirror.” A young man is blackmailed by someone who used the webcam in the lad’s laptop to record him watching porn.
Q: I’ve also read that some users receive pop-up messages on their screens saying things like, “Microsoft windows has detected that a porn virus has infected your system and is trying to steal pictures, data and social networking passwords.” How should a user respond to a message like that?
A: Users should ignore this message and they should not call the toll free phone number that typically appears with it.
This message is associated with adware that hawks flaky support services.
Does that mean that security experts don’t have a clear idea of how big of a problem this is?
Q: Are there a lot of hackers making a lot of money by placing malware on porn sites?For example, you might see an advertisemnent that says, “Download this video player now to see this celebrity sex tape” or “your system needs the latest video driver to see this, download it now.” I have not done enough research to conclude that porn sites are using malware that is more sophisticated than you would find on other types of sites.But I would say that porn-related malware is sometimes as sophisticated as anything you see in any other sector, particularly when it comes to things like click fraud.Q: Does a person face an unusually high risk of downloading malicious software — or malware — if they visit a porn site? Porn sites generally don’t have more malware than other kinds of sites. They keep click-click-clicking on links that promise free, high-definition porn.The more you do that, the greater your risk of installing malware.A: Most cyber crime is driven by classic business principles, like return-on-investment and targeted marketing.So, yes, you will see malware on porn sites that leverages video display software.Q: Don’t porn sites sometimes experience malware problems that they’re actively trying to avoid?I read a news story on The Next that said ESET researchers discovered earlier this year consumers were being tricked into downloading malware that was hidden in what appeared to be a legitimate mobile app for Pornhub. But I’d say that the porn industry has helped pioneer things like video streaming and online payment services, and they don’t want to do things that hurt their businesses. Q: As you said, many people are too embarrassed to admit that they downloaded malware from a porn site.Alternatively, they should use a Chromebook or a cheap secondhand Windows 7 laptop that has no personal information or banking/shopping/email/file-sharing apps on it.And they should be prepared to hit the off switch the moment anything weird happens.