Kai Zhuang, a Chinese exchange student, who went missing a week ago was found on December 31, 2023. Zhuang was hiding in a safe house in the mountains near Brigham City.
Zhuang, a 17-year-old exchange student from China, went missing on Wednesday, December 27, from his host family’s residence in Riverdale, Utah, prompting fears of abduction. The concerns escalated when Zhuang’s parents in China received a ransom note along with his photograph on Friday, December 29, 2023.
What is Cyber Kidnapping?
Cyber kidnapping is also known as virtual kidnapping or online kidnapping. It refers to a type of cybercrime where people become victims of extortion through digital means. Cyber-kidnapping does not involve the physical abduction of a person, but rather relies on psychological manipulation and threats delivered through online mediums.
In several instances, cyber-kidnappers do not have any real compromising information or physical threat capabilities. In this case, they use psychological tactics to manipulate the victim into complying with their demands.
How Does Cyber Kidnapping Work?
There are various steps involved in cyber-kidnapping. The first and foremost is to identify prey and collect information regarding them through their social media profiles and other sources.
The cyber-attackers often use social engineering techniques, like phishing emails, phone calls, or messages, to trick the victim for revealing sensitive information. Once the cyber kidnappers have some information about the victim, they use it to create a sense of fear, urgency, or panic in their minds.
The Cyber kidnappers claims to have compromising information, threaten physical harm, or suggest that a family member has been kidnapped. The attackers demand a ransom, usually in the form of cryptocurrency or other untraceable methods, in exchange for not carrying out their threats or for releasing any alleged hostage.
The attackers often try to isolate the victim from family, friends, or colleagues, making it more difficult for the victim to verify the legitimacy of the threats. In some cases, even after a ransom is paid, the cyber kidnappers may continue to threaten the victim, exploiting the fear they have instilled.
In such cases, the victims need to report cybercrime regarding this, as it can turn into a horrific incident. If you are also getting blackmailed in this way, reach out to your family and friends for advice.