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Understanding eWhoring

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Pastrana, S 


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.



eWhoring, Cybercrime, Crime Script Analysis, Crime Prevention

Journal Title

Proceedings - 4th IEEE European Symposium on Security and Privacy, EURO S and P 2019

Conference Name

2019 IEEE European Symposium on Security and Privacy (EuroS&P)

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Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EP/M020320/1)
This work was supported by the UK Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) [grant EP/M020320/1] and by the Comunidad de Madrid (Spain) under the project CYNAMON (P2018/TCS-4566), co-financed by European Structural Funds (ESF and FEDER).