New campaign highlights digital extortion threats and how to keep safe

1 June 2022
Be vigilant or #YouMayBeNext

SINGAPORE – In this increasingly digitalized world, cybercrime poses a serious threat to both individuals and society at large. By attacking your device’s vulnerabilities, cybercriminals are able to gain access to confidential material, which they can then use to blackmail or extort money.


INTERPOL’s latest awareness campaign wants to remind the public that cyberattacks can happen to everyone, and at any time. Launched today, the #YouMayBeNext campaign will focus on cybercrimes that involve extortion including:

  • Sextortion:  when criminals coerce or trick their victims into sharing explicit images or videos, which are subsequently used for blackmail.
  • Ransomware: a type of malware, which normally encrypts files or steals sensitive data from a system. Criminals then demand money for decryption of files, or threaten to disclose sensitive data if a ransom is not paid.
  • A Distributed Denial-of-Service (DDoS) attack: a malicious attempt to disrupt the normal traffic of a targeted server, service or network by overwhelming the target or its surrounding infrastructure with a flood of Internet traffic. Some cybercriminals threaten individuals or organizations with a DDoS incursion unless an extortion demand is paid.

The two-week awareness campaign (1-17 June) will be run primarily through social media. During this campaign, key tactics adopted by cybercriminals to exploit vulnerabilities will be highlighted, as well as tips on how to spot them and ensure that individuals and businesses are better equipped with the knowledge to safeguard systems, networks and devices.

More than 60 countries, private-sector partners, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and international organizations will take part in this campaign. Specifically, they will support INTERPOL’s outreach efforts by sharing information on recent cybercrime trends, as well as the tools that members of the public can use to protect themselves.

Craig Jones, INTERPOL’s Director of Cybercrime underscored the need for vigilance and a collective response in combatting the evolving threats from cyberattacks.

“People often do not think or believe that they will fall prey to cybercrime until it is too late. Unfortunately, cybercriminals exploit every opportunity and vulnerability that they see in networks, systems and programmes. By taking advantage of these vulnerabilities they can cause severe financial loss, distress and harm to millions,” Mr Jones said.

This campaign is supported by the African Joint Operation against Cybercrime (AFJOC), funded by the United Kingdom’s Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO).