A New Extortion Phishing Scam Is On The Rise…. Here’s How You Can Avoid Becoming A Victim

This past week I got three calls from clients who are all men who got emails similar to this one:

Hello.
Do not regard on my grammar, I am from China.
 
We loaded our malicious program onto your OS.
 
Then I pilfered all  confidential information from your device. Moreover I have some more compromising.
The most interesting evidence that I got- its a videotape with your wanking.I put virus on a porn site and after you installed it. As soon as you picked the video and tapped on a play button, my virus instantly loaded on your Operating System.After setup, your camera shoot the videotape with you self-abusing,  additionally software saved exactly the porn video you watched. In next week my malicious software captured all your social media and work contacts.
 
If you wish to destroy all the evidence- pay me 205 usd in Bitcoins.Its my Btc wallet address –   [DELETED BITCOIN WALLET ADDRESS]
You have 72 hours to go from this moment. If I receive transfer I will erase the compromising forever. Differently I will send the video to all your colleagues and friends.

Now the reason why I got a call was that they were convinced that they had malware installed on their PCs or Macs. Thus in every case, I went looking for anything of the sort that might have been installed and found nothing. But in each case, the men involved did admit to watching online porn. And they also had their email addresses found to have been pwned on haveibeenpwned.com which means that their email addresses have been part of a data breach. Given the facts above, I suspected that this was nothing more than a extortion phishing scam based on the fact that the scumbag behind the email likely got these men’s email addresses via a data breach.

What is extortion phishing? It’s when the victim receives an email suggesting they have compromised in some way and the scumbags behind the scam demand money, usually in BitCoin which is untraceable to keep this from becoming public. Now this specific scam seems to have been around for a few months based on my research and the group behind it seems to use a number of BitCoin wallet addresses. Each of which have anywhere from $200 USD to $1000 USD which implies that a few people fall for this. Having said that, this doesn’t have to have huge numbers for it to be profitable. If they send out 20000 emails with this and only 1% pay the $205 USD that they’re asking for, that’s still $4100 USD that they’ve scored. That’s not a trivial amount of cash.

So what can you do to protect yourself? Let’s start with the whole virus taking control of your webcam thing. That is possible. But if you have up to date antivirus, that should be a non issue. If you do feel paranoid, you can tape over your webcam with some tape, and you can disable your mic as well.

Now lets say that you have received an email like the one above. Remember that this is likely a scam. But if you want to be sure you can call in a professional to check your computer over to make sure that there’s nothing lurking on it. There likely won’t be but you can never be too careful. But under no circumstances should you pay up. The main reasons are that not only does it make the scumbags behind this scam want to keep doing it, but because many BitCoin exchanges or ATMs do not require you to verify your identity. Thus there’s no way for the scammer to tie you to the money that they could get from you. Which means that they have no way to delete the data that they allegedly collected if you pay them. Which means that they’re lying about having data on you.

Don’t be the 1% that falls for this scam. If you get an email like this, delete it and move on with your day.

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