Since the earliest days of the burgeoning internet, porn has been a lure used by hackers and scammers to trap unwitting (and horny) web users.
Your porn habits are a secret — or at least closely held — thing. So, if while you’re taking some personal time to surreptitiously sneak in some porn on your laptop or smartphone, you get nailed by some malware or ransomware, you’re not very likely to go not he offensive to stop it from happening or report the full extent of the circumstances that led to the infection. If you did that, then you’d have to admit to the, admittedly, banal, but still stigmatized act of looking at porn. If you got a virus — you need to address it. And the best way to handle it and make sure nothing like it happens in the future is to be able to explain the full circumstances of what happened.
Porn is still the most popular lure used to get internet users to fall for hacks and for phishing scams. Macs may not get as many viruses as PCs, but they still get them — and the numbers are growing. Android devices are vulnerable to malicious programs and everyone is susceptible to potential phishing scams.
The most common phishing scam out there affecting people browsing for pornography on the internet is one in which a malicious website is set up with the purpose of stealing the website’s visitor’s porn credentials. You go to a website that’s made to look like a mock up of your favorite porn site — Naughty America, Pornhub, Brazzers, Playboy, Hustler — and then you enter your log in user name and password into the boxes and click “OK.” Then the hackers have your info.
They’re stealing your porn!
Yes, in fact, the most common phishing scam is to steal your porn. They get your credentials and then sell it on the dark web. And even though we’re frequently reminded not to use the same credentials across multiple platforms, humans are inherently laze and we do it anyway. Then, your log in and password for any number of things — your e-mail, your work computer, your bank’s online services — they’re all out there for the selling. The best way to protect yourself from this kind of hack is to be observant. Make sure you’re not entering your login information into a pop up. Also, make sure you’re entering the name of the website correctly at the top of your browser, and make sure you see all of the right security notifications before you put in anything.
Tell tale clues for any kind of phishing scam are the misspelling of the website name you’re trying to access, and the use of a pop up to collect your credentials.
If you run into that, most likely you’ll have no problems as long as you quickly exit out of the window and that website. Malware and phishing are not passive. You need to take affirmative action for them to harm you, but the sites can be very clever and get you to click on links and download things that you would otherwise avoid. Phishing sites that use porn obviously have a leg up because downloading is a part of the name of the game of enjoying porn on the internet.
Speaking of pop ups that are trying to trick you into clicking on them, they will often try to mimic your virus checker or prompt you to scan your computer for a virus. Then by clicking the link, you get a virus. Or it’ll tell you that you need an update to your flash player to view a video. Then you click on the update — it’s a virus or some malware. Malware can slow down your computer by taking up resources to do things in the background but it can also record keystrokes and send them to people you don’t want them going to. Then your personal information or your credit card numbers can end up in the wrong hands. There are different levels of malicious when it comes to malware. It’s best to avoid it altogether in general.
The best way to avoid any viruses or malware that are disguised as updates to programs on your computer is to check with the official site first before clicking anything.
If the site is claiming that you need an update to view something, such as adobe flash, close out the website, go to the official adobe website and check to see if you have the most recent version. If you do need an update — best to get it from the source while you’re there rather than download it from some third-party site. Just to be safe.
If you get a pop up about a virus being detected or your computer needing a scan, turn to your friendly neighborhood virus scanner: whichever you have on your computer at the time. Those kinds of pop ups are nearly always a scam, but if you want to be overly careful, scan with your own program. It’s usually pretty quick.
There are three basic and easy ways to practice safe pornography on the internet.
You want to stick to the websites you know are safe. Go to the same sites that you trust and patronize them. Going off into the woods with no protection will only end in tears.
While we’re talking about trusted sources, only download programs and applications from trusted sources. If you don’t know the source of a program or its in an attachment in an e-mail from an address you’ve never seen promising loads of porn, don’t open it. You’re setting yourself up for some potentially extreme viruses, malware or, potentially, ransomware — perhaps the worst of them all.
And finally, don’t patronize dark web sources for credentials to porn sites. If you want premium porn content — pay for it. First, there’s no guarantee that what you pay for will work, let alone for how long it will if it does. Second, you’re incentivizing the continued practice of stealing and selling of porn log ins, leading to more scams using smarter and uglier means.