Sextortion scams appear terrifying. Out of nowhere, a stranger demands that you send them Bitcoin—if not, they’ll spread pictures of you pleasuring yourself.
Cyber security firm Sophos has tracked all the online sextortion campaigns it could find that took place between September 1, 2019 and January 31, 2020, working alongside crypto analytics firm CipherTrace to follow the flow of their ill-gotten Bitcoin.
The good news is that it turns out these sextortion scams aren’t particularly lucrative; in the five months Sophos tracked the campaigns, hackers only made 50.98 BTC, or roughly $500,000 worth of Bitcoin, based on the average price of Bitcoin during the times of the transactions.
Compare that to the $25 million heist last week by dForce last week ($24 million of which was later returned), or the $1 million taken from bZx’s Fulcrum protocol, and the half a million dollars earned by sextortion scammers appears paltry.