Security threats aren't new and have long been part of online life. But the increased attention on them offers a good time to review ways to protect yourself. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)

Opponents of revenge porn have a powerful new ally: Google. The search giant announced Friday that it will soon start honoring requests to remove nude or sexually explicit images shared without the subject's consent.

"Our philosophy has always been that Search should reflect the whole web. But revenge porn images are intensely personal and emotionally damaging, and serve only to degrade the victims— predominantly women," Amit Singhal, the company's vice president for search, said in a blog post.

In the coming weeks, Singhal wrote, the tech giant will release a Web form people can use to submit requests to remove search results featuring revenge porn. "This is a narrow and limited policy, similar to how we treat removal requests for other highly sensitive personal information, such as bank account numbers and signatures, that may surface in our search results," Singhal said in the blog post.

Opponents of revenge porn cheered the decision. "We've been talking to Google for all these years," said Danielle Citron, a professor at the University of Maryland School of Law who advises a group dedicated to fighting the practice. "It's very gratifying to see this change."

Google is just the latest of several tech companies to address this form of online harassment. Twitter, Facebook and reddit have all made similar announcements in recent months.

"There's been a lot of momentum," Citron said.

Law enforcement has also begun cracking down on revenge porn, including criminally prosecuting people who profited from running sites that encouraged people to post explicit pictures of ex-romantic partners.

But there's still a lot of legal gray area surrounding the practice. And some on Capitol Hill are hoping to change that: Rep. Jackie Speier (D-Calif.) is drafting legislation aimed at banning revenge porn at the federal level, according to her office.