The Dark Side of the Internet: Exploring Cyber Kidnapping

May 27, 2024

In a realm where we are persistently linked online, there is a melancholic side of the internet prowling in the shades, attacking innocent targets. Cyber kidnapping can be thought of as a danger that has left many horrified and susceptible. From ransom needs to private data burglary, no one stays harmless from the predators that work digitally. 

What is Cyber Kidnapping? 

Cyber kidnapping is a type of crime committed virtually in plenty over the past few years, it also goes by other names such as online threats or cybernetic kidnapping. In cyber kidnapping, the innocent ones are controlled, manipulated, and extorted using the internet and technology. This type of crime is not restricted to borders only, but it can happen to anyone who stays online using the internet. 

Traditional kidnapping and cyber kidnapping share a similar concept, where a person’s free will and private data is taken hostage up until a ransom is funded. Nonetheless, Cyber kidnapping is somewhat different from traditional kidnapping where an individual’s location is acknowledged. But in the case of cyber kidnapping, the kidnappers maybe be located anywhere and work behind large computer screens which makes them hard to catch by law enforcement agencies due to their untraceable locations. 

Ways of cyber kidnapping 

Cyber kidnapping most commonly is brought into action in the form of phishing scams. The victims are approached by the traitors using messages and emails which may seem to be coming from a valid organization or an individual just to obtain the victim’s personal data such as monetary details and passwords. Once the traitor gets his hands on the victim’s data, they may use it to blackmail them and make them pay a ransom. 

Another trick used by such fraudsters is social engineering – in which they abuse human emotions and psychology such as perseverance or terror to obtain their victim’s personal information or money by controlling them. For instance, these deceivers fake themselves as law enforcement workers claiming that the target has committed a crime and needs to pay a fine instantly or face the penalties. 

Potential impact

Emotional Impact 

Apart from losses that occur financially due to ransom expenses, cyber kidnapping can also influence its victims emotionally. Loss of privacy and violation feelings can cause the victim to be traumatic. 

Currently, these virtual kidnappings have become so common where traitors deceptively claim that they have a loved one abducted and demand ransom expenditures to release the victim. To make the scene seem more convincing, these crime committers use applications to change voices and mimic the exact voice of a friend or a family member. 

This type of crime not only affects the victim, but drags its family as well. People may take years to heal from such a crime that affected them emotionally, isolated them, etc. Coming across such heinous crimes can be avoided only if people educate themselves and their children about the online protection measures to follow. 

Financial Impact

Apart from financial requirements, a few cyber kidnappers may abuse the individual by asking them for sensitive data such as details of bank account, passwords, or credit card details under warning of harm to their loved ones or themselves. 

Individuals should be much careful about sharing their data online and coming across potential threats and scams set up by a cyber-kidnapper as a target. The victim should seek assistance from the law enforcement department and stay attentive in this digitally related realm. 

How does Cyber kidnapping Occur? 

  1. Social Engineering: It is a type of art used by many cyber kidnappers to manipulate people into exposing their sensitive data. Social engineering methods are used by such criminals to obtain confidential information regarding their targeted victims, like their financial status, location, and everyday routine. 
  2. Phishing Scams: These scams are criminal approaches to gain a victim’s confidential information through text messages or emails by acting as valid legitimates and getting their hands on the target’s credit card and bank details. 
  3. Malware Attacks: cyber kidnappers may also use malicious software and links to obtain personal data of a victim and hack his device. 
  4. Virtual Kidnapping: It is a horrifying tactic used by crime committers where they claim to have kidnapped a person linked to the victim and demand financial payments in exchange for the release. They might use false evidence like videos and recordings in it. 
  5. Social Media Exploitation: Due to enhanced social media fame, the criminals have started to misuse social media platforms to target their victims by supervising targeted victims on social media where they can learn more about their activities and come up with ideas to scam them. 
  6. Unsecured Wi-Fi Networks: Utilizing unsafe free Wi-Fi networks can cause a victim to face cyber kidnapping by exposing sensitive data and bank account information of a victim connected to a public network which puts them at risk. 

It is very important to stay alerted while utilizing public Wi-Fi and take essential measures to safeguard oneself from falling prey to such heinous crimes.  

Prevention and Safety Measures 

It is very important for an individual to be conscious of avoidance and safety procedures to safeguard oneself and his beloved ones from falling prey to the ugly side of the internet. 

  • Keeping Personal information Private: One should stop posting his sensitive information like phone number, address, and daily routine online, so that he can stay safe from the cyber criminals tracking. 
  • Strengthen Your Online Security: Try using devices well equipped with security software and set up strong passwords for social media, so that it becomes hard for the hacker to crack. 
  • Be Wary of Strangers Online: Cyber Criminals pose as good friends or love interests on social media, so avoid sharing information with strangers that act as your well-wishers.  
  • Educate Yourself: Try gaining more and more knowledge about different cyber related scams and tactics played by criminals in order to stay away from them. 
  • Monitor Your Online Presence: Monitor your daily activities and other stuff on social media, so that you don’t fall prey to cyber criminals. Control your security settings and keep your posts and other details private. 

Recent Cases of Cyber Kidnapping 

Recently, such horrifying cases have been increasing over the past few years and it has affected many children, adults and senior citizens. The most famous case was of Britain’s model Chloe Ayling in 2017. She mistook a cyber-criminal for a photographer she met online for a photoshoot and was captivated by him for 6 days with the demand of a ransom of 300,000$ in exchange for her release. It shows that this crime not only targets ordinary people, or children, but it can target anyone using digital technology. 

The Role of Law Enforcement

The law enforcement enforces laws and investigates cases whenever there is a cyber-kidnapping case, but these cases have immensely increased over the last few years which is creating hurdles for the law enforcement agency as well. They should stay conscious and up to date with the tricks played by cyber criminals. 

It is the utmost duty of this department to immediately respond to a case linked to cyber-kidnapping and further investigate it to collect information and evidence to be utilized in the court. For this they should with technology experts in tracing the suspect behind the cause and try to get themselves educated regarding such crime. 

Conclusion: Raising Awareness and Staying Safe Online 

The Internet has become a part of our daily lives and we are very much dependent on it for everything, but above all, we are unaware of its dark side – cyber kidnapping. To protect oneself from its ugly side is to raise awareness and educate oneself regarding its abuse. One should also stay protected from such crime by avoiding downloading malicious links and files that could expose our sensitive data. It is important to remain conscious and skeptical when communicating online. 


  • How does cyber kidnapping occur?

Through methods like phishing, ransomware, or social engineering, where attackers threaten victims for financial gain or data theft.

  • What are the motives behind cyber kidnapping?

Motives vary, but often include financial gain, data theft, or gaining leverage for extortion, sometimes targeting high-profile individuals or organizations.

  • What should I do if I become a victim of cyber kidnapping?

Stay calm, report to authorities, avoid engaging with attackers, and seek help from cybersecurity experts.


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