Joan and Peter have been working together for about 2 years. Joan is Peter’s support worker. Joan arrives at work to find Peter, not himself. The normal routine includes preparing Peter’s morning coffee while she gets paperwork organised for the medical appointments they are attending. As Peter’s primary long-term support worker, Joan has established a mutual understanding rapport and enjoys collaborative work. They both know and understood the intended plans for the day as they regularly forward plan their sessions. Peter lost both legs in an accident and is totally reliant on his support for assistance in the community while his wife attends work. Joan understands that 90% of Peter’s world exists online. His virtual community is made up of many different people from around the world and he enjoys this community inclusion where many of his friends don’t know of his physical limitations in life. In the virtual world, Peter has the freedom to be himself.
Joan goes about her normal routine. While doing so she goes to move the laptop in preparation for assisting Pater to change chairs, as they would normally do, without any verbal interaction, and when she does this Peter yells at her “put it down. Don’t touch it”
Joan was taken aback. This is unlike Peter, and she is unsure of what has upset him. Joan apologises if she has upset him. Peter tells Joan about what has been happening.
Peter and his wife had been targeted victims of Cyberstalking and Hacking for information.
What to do if you are a Victim of cybercrime.
Despite using personal computers for over 20 years, Peter’s email address and webcam were recently hacked by a cyber-criminal. Peter received an email from his own email address, stating that they had “accessed my computer and taken video footage of me in front of my computer of a sexual nature. They threatened that if I didn’t pay them $1490 USD in bitcoin within 48 hours of opening the email the video would be distributed to all my email and social media contacts.”
Peter tells Joan “I felt violated, ashamed, embarrassed, and helpless. I didn’t know what to do so I did nothing while I internally panicked, and it took much longer than it should have for me to inform my wife what had happened”
Joan was just as confused as Peter regarding how to help Peter address the situation. Doing nothing was not helping as Peter was just getting anxious and because of the email, Peter had stopped interacting with his friends in the online community. This was impacting all areas of Peter’s life. His wife was upset, he could not connect with his community and now felt unsafe in what was his lifeline with the world. Joan in her role as a support worker called for Supervision regarding her responsibilities in supporting Peter and his wife through this, Joan wanted to jump in and fix the situation as she could see how distressed this was making Peter, however as a support worker that is not our role. Our role is to provide options and assist in accessing appropriate services and supports for the situation. Joan then assisted Peter to make the phone calls he needed to do.
Peter rang the police first, on the non-emergency number 131444 and explained to them what had happened. They told him it was most likely a scam and that there was nothing to worry about, that he should just report it to Scamwatch at https://www.scamwatch.gov.au/
Peter did this, as part of the process he had to upload a copy of the email, what he was threatened with, what they were after and the timeframe of what had occurred. During this process, Peter could enter his personal details or remain anonymous. Peter received an email receipt of this submission.
Peter told Joan that he felt relieved at this stage, but it was short-lived. At 2:20 am the next morning his wife received an unsavoury video clip of him in front of his computer. It was also sent to some of her Facebook friends. When he heard this, he went into a meltdown and panicked about the possible repercussions of his actions. Peter’s wife was understandably upset by the violation and Peter went to the local police station and spoke to a constable, and they recommended that it needed to be reported online at https://www.cyber.gov.au/acsc/report
To report on this website, you are first asked if it is an emergency (if it is you are directed to call 000). You then run through a series of questions, including whether it is a person or business that has been affected, what type of crime has occurred (e.g. online abuse or threats, identity fraud or theft, money loss or compromised accounts and whether devices have been impacted), details of what happened, including dates and any financial transactions made, the victim’s gender, date of birth and contact details and whether the victim is willing to make a formal statement. Once you have completed the report you will receive a receipt for this and a code to check on the report status.
Peter was also advised that to prevent further issues, use a different device and change his and his wife’s Facebook and email passwords to block further access to these accounts and temporarily disable his Facebook account to limit anything further being distributed by the cyberhackers. Peter then ran a virus and malware checker to remove potential viruses from files. Peter then backed up any important files to an external hard drive so they could access them later. Peter then formatted his hard drive and reinstalled windows. Peter then made sure to update windows and make sure to install a reliable virus checker and malware checker.
If you aren’t confident in doing this yourself, I’d advise taking it to your local computer shop for assistance.
If you are the victim of a cybercrime and are struggling afterwards then the following services may help
For Support Contact
available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week
Cybercrime needs to be reported
What to do:
- It is important to save any evidence you have by keeping emails, web addresses, and screenshots including the times and dates you take the screenshots. Evidence must be preserved before you request content to be removed.
- Contact eSafety to advise that the issue has been reported to police, eSafety will need to consult police to ensure the evidence is captured before the content is removed.
What to do to prevent this issue from happening:
- If you see cyber abuse happening to others online report it to the website or social media administrators.
- Configure your email to require two-factor authentication (eg. password plus a code sent via SMS).
- Never give anyone your username or password or let anyone access your online accounts. Use different passwords for each of your accounts.
For more information please click on the following links to access further information from trusted websites
Please reach out if you require support.