Throw back: decrypting sextortion workshop at the Internet Governance Forum

Nowadays, women and girls eagerly make use of new media to find an outlet for self-expression, posting provocative pictures and videos of themselves, defying so-felt conservative social norms. However, advancements in technology also impose a risk of abuse of these images. The Risk of sextortion.

Last December the Women in Cyber Security Foundation (WiCS), The Hague University of Applied Sciences and the Netherlands IGF & Electronic Commerce Platform worked together on a decrypting sextortion workshop during the Internet Governance Forum in Guadalajara, Mexico. Catherina Garcia van Hoogstraten, the hostess and moderator on behalf of WiCS, spoke about the horror that is sextortion. The aim of the workshop was to disrupt the current trend, research possible solutions and to discuss potential cross-cultural collaborations towards the new age of digital feminism.

Sextortion: a form of sexual exploitation that employs non-physical forms of coercion to extort sexual favors from the victim.

Incidents of sextortion, where women are coerced in payment of even performing sexual acts to prevent some privately shared delicate material such as a nude picture or sex video from being made public, are reported in increasing numbers. Since the perpetrators frequently use the Dark Web, successful prosecution of the perpetrators is difficult. The perceived anonymity of the internet is instrumental in alluring people to cyberrevenge. Through a live social engineering hack, participants were showed how easy it is to fall victim to sextortion type of abuse.

Most depressing, but most important

According to the participants, the panel and the hosting parties the workshop was a big success.

“This is the most depressing, but most important session I’ve attended.” “The room was bursting, what a great workshop.” “Sextortion is an international problem that we need to tackle.”


The panel of the workshop consisted of the following women:

–          Panel moderator: Catherine Garcia van Hoogstraten, WICS, Digital Governance, Information Technology & Cybersecurity advisor, researcher, senior lecturer at the Hague University of Applied Sciences- Centre of Expertise in Cybersecurity
–          Panel rapporteur: Shruthi Kamath, Security Consultant at Cigital, Inc,Co-Founder at InfosecGirls
–          Arda Gerkens, Senator SP- Eerste Kamer der Staten-Generaal and Managing director Expertise Bureau Online Kindermisbruik
–          Alice Munyua ,Co-founder of the Kenya ICT Action Network – KICTANet
–          Hanane Boujemi, Hivos Senior Manager Internet Governance Programme MENA
–          Alejandra Cantón Moreno, CISO at Giesecke & Devrient
–          Su Sonia Herring, Young ambassador of the Turkish Youth

More information on the background story of sextortion, the workshop and the WiCS!