ransomware hackers demand bitcoin for sex toy
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Hackers demand $700 bitcoin ransom for man’s “family jewels”

Hackers took control of an app-controlled, internet-of-things connected male chastity device in an attempt to obtain a ransom, according to a report

In a frighteningly hilarious example of bad cybersecurity practices in the internet of things (IoT), hackers gained access to hack a man’s chastity cage sex toy to demand a ransom.

According to a Jan. 11 report by news outlet Vice, hackers took advantage of a cybersecurity vulnerability in the software of a “smart” sex toy that has been known—and reported on—since October. The hackers hoped to effectively hold the genitals of the man who used the device hostage, by locking them in it.

Fortunately, they mistimed their hack.

The device in question is male chastity-enforcing device CellMate. It is described on the official website as “the world’s first app-controlled chastity device.” The Vice report explains that “a victim who asked to be identified only as Robert” received a ransom demand for 0.02 Bitcoin (or nearly $700 as of press time) to unlock the device. 

Robert realized that his device was definitely “locked,” and he had lost control over it. His genitals (and dignity) were saved just by his luck:

“Fortunately I didn’t have this locked on myself while this happened.” 

Ransomware attacks are one of the worst—if not the worst—cybersecurity threats currently in circulation. The situation is so bad that in mid-December the United States Secret Service and state regulators released a suite of ransomware attack prevention tools.

While the incident described by Robert may be somewhat unique, such pieces of malware have already been documented to have had far-reaching and devastating real-world effects in the past. 

Most notably, as Modern Consensus reported last Fall, German police are treating the death of a woman at Düsseldorf University Hospital as a homicide after her death was linked to a ransomware attack crippling the facility and forcing an ambulance to be rerouted to an emergency room farther away.

That was not unique, although it was the first documented case of ransomware being responsible for a death. In mid-April, just a month after the COVID-19 pandemic lockdowns began, blockchain analysis firm Chainalysis reported that hospitals were a favored target of ransomware attackers.

And in December, one of Chinese iPhone manufacturer Foxconn’s Mexican facility was hacked and held for a $34 million bitcoin ransom after excrypting 1,200 servers.

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Leo Jakobson, Modern Consensus editor-in-chief, is a New York-based journalist who has traveled the world writing about incentive travel. He has also covered consumer and employee engagement, small business, the East Coast side of the Internet boom and bust, and New York City crime, nightlife, and politics. Disclosure: Jakobson has put some 401k money into Grayscale Bitcoin Trust.