Recently there’s been a massive spate of “Sextortion” emails sent to millions of email accounts asking for a ransom not to publish information about your personal life. What has worried so many people in this hack is that people have been told their valid passwords as part of the extortion email.
Here’s an example of the email subject line:
Security Alert. EMAIL ADDRESS has password PASSWORD. Password must be changed.
Initially these emails were also showing as having been sent from the email address of the user which made them feel even more sinister as if the hackers had access to your personal email account. However, it was explained that this is very easy to achieve by using an anonymous email sender such as http://www.sendanonymousemail.net/
So, that’s that part of the mystery sorted, but how did they get the passwords? Well, that’s thanks to data breaches on websites. To find out of your email address has been involved in a databreach, you can check to see if your email has been published by hackers online at this site:
At the end of the day, it’s worth changing your passwords on any accounts where there has been a data breach. Remember, the hackers are unlikely to have access to your email account, so by changing your password, that should help a lot but won’t stop you getting the extortion emails with the old details.
Here’s the full text of an example extortion email:
I have very bad news for you.
09/08/2018 – on this day I hacked your OS and got full access to your account email address
On this day your account email address has password: password
So, you can change the password, yes.. But my malware intercepts it every time.
How I made it:
In the software of the router, through which you went online, was a vulnerability.
I just hacked this router and placed my malicious code on it.
When you went online, my trojan was installed on the OS of your device.
After that, I made a full dump of your disk (I have all your address book, history of viewing sites, all files, phone numbers and addresses of all your contacts).
A month ago, I wanted to lock your device and ask for a not big amount of btc to unlock.
But I looked at the sites that you regularly visit, and I was shocked by what I saw!!!
I’m talk you about sites for adults.
I want to say – you are a BIG pervert. Your fantasy is shifted far away from the normal course!
And I got an idea….
I made a screenshot of the adult sites where you have fun (do you understand what it is about, huh?).
After that, I made a screenshot of your joys (using the camera of your device) and glued them together.
Turned out amazing! You are so spectacular!
I’m know that you would not like to show these screenshots to your friends, relatives or colleagues.
I think $720 is a very, very small amount for my silence.
Besides, I have been spying on you for so long, having spent a lot of time!
Pay ONLY in Bitcoins!
My BTC wallet: 1HkKgPbcMyfhrdPsbufTFczzVnhyT5snB3
You do not know how to use bitcoins?
Enter a query in any search engine: “how to replenish btc wallet”.
It’s extremely easy
For this payment I give you two days (48 hours).
As soon as this letter is opened, the timer will work.
After payment, my virus and dirty screenshots with your enjoys will be self-destruct automatically.
If I do not receive from you the specified amount, then your device will be locked, and all your contacts will receive a screenshots with your “enjoys”.
I hope you understand your situation.
– Do not try to find and destroy my virus! (All your data, files and screenshots is already uploaded to a remote server)
– Do not try to contact me (you yourself will see that this is impossible, the sender address is automatically generated)
– Various security services will not help you; formatting a disk or destroying a device will not help, since your data is already on a remote server.
P.S. You are not my single victim. so, I guarantee you that I will not disturb you again after payment!
This is the word of honor hacker
I also ask you to regularly update your antiviruses in the future. This way you will no longer fall into a similar situation.
Do not hold evil! I just do my job.
The BBC reported on this too: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/av/stories-46323625/what-happened-when-sextortion-scammers-targeted-a-bbc-trending-reporter