Internet scams are major threats to individuals and business because all it takes is one wrong click of the mouse and a user is embroiled in an unenviable situation. One such scam that is happening today is designed to catch users with their pants down, so to speak.
You should know, before we get into the scam that 30 percent of the Internet is pornography; and, this enormous supply is, regrettably, not hurting for demand. In fact, these adult websites attract more visitors than Amazon, Netflix, and Twitter combined. It is due to this overwhelming usage that the scam in question works.
One of the first rules of extortion is: To get over on a mark, it helps to have some piece of information to blackmail him/her with. That’s how this scam works. Basically, you’ll get an email from an unknown sender. It will read:
“You don’t know me and you’re thinking why you received this email, right?
Well, I actually placed a malware on the porn website and guess what, you visited this web site to have fun (you know what I mean). While you were watching the video, your web browser acted as a RDP (Remote Desktop) and a keylogger which provided me access to your display screen and webcam. Right after that, my software gathered all your contacts from your Messenger, Facebook account, and email account.
What exactly did I do?
I made a split-screen video. First part recorded the video you were viewing (you’ve got a fine taste haha), and next part recorded your webcam (Yep! It’s you doing nasty things!).
What should you do?
Well, I believe, $1400 is a fair price for our little secret. You’ll make the payment via Bitcoin to the below address (if you don’t know this, search “how to buy bitcoin” in Google).”
As the user reads on, they are provided an address to send the $1400 in cryptocurrency, recommending that the recipient copy and past the alphanumeric code attached, as it is case sensitive. The correspondence ends with this:
You have 24 hours in order to make the payment. (I have an unique pixel within this email message, and right now I know that you have read this email). If I don’t get the payment, I will send your video to all of your contacts including relatives, coworkers, and so forth. Nonetheless, if I do get paid, I will erase the video immidiately [sic]. If you want evidence, reply with “Yes!” and I will send your video recording to your 5 friends. This is a non-negotiable offer, so don’t waste my time and yours by replying to this email.”
Good grief. It doesn’t look too good for you. Of course, in the enormity of the Internet, there are several different iterations of this email going around, but their message is the same: pay up, or you’ll be publicly humiliated.
Don’t Panic, But Be Worried
No matter what you do in your personal time, you should know right off the bat that this is a scam, as in, the scam is total bull. There is no video of you, and if there was, there is no person that is going to release that information. The password, which was yours at some time, was gained in some hack some time ago. You can go ahead and ignore this particular threat, but take heed.
This scam may not have much traction, but since victims have so far paid out a whopping $250,000 as a result of this scam, those payments gives the scam a modicum of legitimacy. Due to the success of this, more attacks like it will inevitably pop up. This also means that there were open opportunities for real hackers to make off with some pretty compromising information about people. For one, there was definitely an opportunity to get video of you as most laptops today come with front-facing webcams.
What You Need to Do
To protect yourself, you have to take precautions. First, password management is key. Know what your passwords are, and if you’re like the millions of us who can’t remember them all, use a password manager. That way, you only have to remember one. Additionally, it may be a good idea to keep your webcam covered up when you aren’t actively using it. That way, if you were to do questionable things in front of your computer’s camera, you won’t have to pay for it later.
At Converging Networks Group, we know it’s increasingly difficult to keep up with all the threats going around. From this threat to ransomware, and everything in between, our staff keeps a close eye on emerging threats so that we can help keep our clients from being compromised. Have you received this email, or some other that attempted to extort you online? Comment below to join the conversation.