Understanding eWhoring presented at IEEEEuroS&P 2019

by Alice Hutchings, Sergio Pastrana,

Summary : In this paper, we describe a new type of online fraud, referred to as 'eWhoring' by offenders. This crime script analysis provides an overview of the 'eWhoring' business model, drawing on more than 6,500 posts crawled from an online underground forum. This is an unusual fraud type, in that offenders readily share information about how it is committed in a way that is almost prescriptive. There are economic factors at play here, as providing information about how to make money from 'eWhoring' can increase the demand for the types of images that enable it to happen. We find that sexualised images are typically stolen and shared online. While some images are shared for free, these can quickly become 'saturated', leading to the demand for (and trade in) more exclusive 'packs'. These images are then sold to unwitting customers who believe they have paid for a virtual sexual encounter. A variety of online services are used for carrying out this fraud type, including email, video, dating sites, social media, classified advertisements, and payment platforms. This analysis reveals potential interventions that could be applied to each stage of the crime commission process to prevent and disrupt this crime type.