Protecting Against AI-Generated Photo Sextortion


As technology continues to advance, so do the risks associated with it. One emerging threat is AI-generated photo sextortion, a malicious practice where artificial intelligence is used to manipulate and create explicit images or videos without the person’s consent. This alarming trend poses a serious risk to personal privacy and can have devastating consequences for victims.

Strengthen Your Online Privacy Settings

Review and tighten the privacy settings on your social media accounts and other online platforms. Limit the visibility of your personal information, including photos, to trusted connections only. Regularly update and review your privacy preferences to ensure they align with your desired level of exposure.

Be Cautious with Sharing Personal Photos

Exercise caution when sharing personal photos online or through messaging platforms. Avoid sending explicit or compromising images to anyone, even if you trust them. Remember that once an image is shared, you lose control over how it may be used or manipulated in the future.

Avoid Engaging with Suspicious Requests or Blackmail Attempts

Be vigilant and skeptical of unsolicited messages or requests for personal information or explicit photos. Cybercriminals may attempt to manipulate you into sharing sensitive content by using various social engineering techniques. Refrain from responding to or engaging with suspicious requests, and report such incidents to the appropriate authorities.

Practice Secure Online Behaviors

Adopt secure online practices to reduce the risk of falling victim to AI-generated photo sextortion. Use strong, unique passwords for your online accounts and enable two-factor authentication whenever possible. Regularly update your devices and software to protect against potential vulnerabilities.

Educate Yourself About Deepfake Technology

  • Stay informed about the advancements in deepfake technology and AI-generated manipulation techniques. Understanding how these technologies work can help you recognize and identify potential threats. Stay updated on the latest news and research surrounding deepfakes to better protect yourself.
  • Limit Exposure of Personal Photos: Minimize the number of personal photos you share online, especially those that could be potentially compromising. Consider adjusting your social media sharing habits by sharing images with a smaller, trusted group rather than publicly. This reduces the likelihood of your photos being misused by AI algorithms.
  • Regularly Monitor Your Online Presence: Conduct regular searches to monitor your online presence. Set up Google Alerts for your name to receive notifications when new content related to you is indexed. By monitoring your online presence, you can quickly identify and address any instances of AI-generated photo sextortion.
  • Report and Seek Support: If you become a victim of AI-generated photo sextortion or encounter suspicious activity, report the incident to your local law enforcement agency.
    • Additionally, reach out to organizations specializing in cybercrime prevention or victim support to seek guidance and assistance. Prompt reporting and support-seeking can help mitigate the impact of such incidents.

More advanced Steps

While it is challenging to completely prevent the misuse of images in AI-generated photo sextortion, there are certain measures you can take to minimize the risk and make it more difficult for malicious actors to manipulate your images. Here are a few suggestions:

  • Watermark Your Images: Consider watermarking your images by adding a visible overlay with your name, logo, or a copyright symbol. Watermarking can act as a deterrent for potential abusers and make it more difficult for them to pass off manipulated images as authentic.
  • Disable Image Download and Right-Click Save: If you are sharing images on a website or social media platform, explore options to disable image downloading or right-click save functionality. While this may not prevent determined individuals from finding ways to save images, it can discourage casual users from easily obtaining and manipulating your images.
  • Utilize Image Metadata: Take advantage of image metadata, such as EXIF data, to embed information about the photo. This metadata can include details like the camera model, date taken, and even copyright information. While this doesn’t provide foolproof protection, it can serve as an additional layer of authentication and make it easier to identify manipulated versions of the image.
  • Consider Digital Rights Management (DRM) Solutions:
    Explore the use of digital rights management solutions that enable you to maintain control over your images. DRM solutions provide mechanisms to encrypt, track, and manage access to your digital content, including images. While primarily used in the context of copyrighted material, DRM can offer an extra layer of protection for your images.
  • Be Mindful of Image Quality and Resolution: Consider sharing images in lower resolutions or compressed formats. Lower-quality images can make it more challenging for AI algorithms to generate high-quality manipulations. However, keep in mind that this may impact the viewing experience for legitimate users as well.

While these measures may make it more difficult for malicious actors to misuse your images, it’s important to recognize that determined individuals may still find ways to manipulate them. Therefore, it’s crucial to remain vigilant, follow best practices for online privacy and security, and exercise caution when sharing personal images, particularly those that could be potentially compromising.

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About Joe Sullivan 35 Articles
Joe Sullivan has worked in information security for over two decades. He holds numerous certifications and has worked in various roles during that time. Joe is a SANS instructor and senior security consultant for TrustedSec. Joe regularly contributes to SecFlux and shares some of his experiences, knowledge, and insight into current cyber events.