The Information Technology Authority (ITA) in Oman has reported that 607 cases of cyber blackmail have occurred since January 2019.
The figures reveal that the age group between 15 to 45-years-old was the most exposed to cyber blackmail representing 53% of registered cases.
Men were more likely to be targeted, representing 70% of cases.
In the whole of 2018, the ITA recorded 1414 cases of cyber blackmail and 1479 cases during 2017.
As a result of the problem the ITA has urged different segments of Omani society to address the issue.
The ITA advises those who have been blackmailed to inform the relevant authorities, including the Royal Oman Police, public prosecution authorities or Oman Computer Emergency Readiness Team (OCERT) at ITA.
The motivation for cyber blackmail was found to be divided into three types: the desire to obtain material gain, sexual gratification or revenge.
The blackmail itself was found to originate from both inside and outside the Sultanate, with the domestic blackmail often committed by people who are known to the victims.
According to authorities, blackmail victims should avoid:
- Contact with the blackmailer even when subjected to severe pressures
- Transfer of funds or disclosure of bank card numbers
- Arguments with the blackmailer and not to threaten them with the police
The ITA recommends keeping correspondence, conversations or any kind of letters to be used as evidence against the blackmailer later.