Blackmail Email Scams is the newest money procuring scam in a long line of Email scams that you should look out for, so we will be discussing this new way of robbing people online.
What is Blackmail email:
The scammer tries to get unaware users to pay them with Bitcoin so that they won’t release compromising adult material of this person that is in their possession. They are sent from fake email addresses and sometimes look like the email has been sent from the user’s own email address.
Identifying the Scam:
A typical subject will for instance be “This account has been hacked! Change your password right now!” The exact wording changes but a lot of the email content will be similar to the following examples. These are parts from users who have had this happen to them:”
Such as “You may not know me and you are probably wondering why you are getting this email, right? I’m a hacker who cracked your email and devices a few months ago. Do not try to contact me or find me, it is impossible, since I sent you an email from YOUR hacked account.”
Or something like “Do not try to contact me or find me, it is impossible, since I sent you an email from YOUR hacked account. I setup a malware on the adult vids (porno) website and guess what, you visited this site to have fun (you know what I mean). While you were watching videos, your internet browser started out functioning as a RDP (Remote Control) having a key logger which gave me accessibility to your screen and web cam. After that, my software program obtained all information.”
And even: “You entered a password on the websites you visited, and I intercepted it. Of course you can change it, or already changed it. But it doesn’t matter, my malware updated it every time. What did I do?”
They all have different stories as to how they claim to have accessed your devices and almost all of them claim to have compromising videos/pictures of the user. They demand a certain amount of Bitcoin (or other cryptocurrency) be sent to a digital wallet within 24-72 hours or they send the pictures/videos to the user’s family, friends and co-workers.
What to do:
These emails are usually sent in bulk; as you are not their only intended victim.
Use strong Passwords:
The best way to use a password is to try and change it often and never have the same password for more than one social media platform. If you have ever had a breach those passwords need to be changed. Try creating difficult passwords that are unique and not weak.
Apply Security Updates
Make sure all your devices have their software (operating system etc.) up to date, and also for 3rd party software installed on the devices. These updates may contain security fixes and improvements.
Scan Your Devices
Most devices have security software that run in the background and scans new files and so on but scan all of your devices every now and then even if it is just for your own piece of mind.
There are ways to configure your hosting account so that webservers will identify that these emails are falsely claiming to be sent from your own email address, after which the servers will block them as spam. This is done through SPF and DKIM records, for those who are technically inclined. But at PS Digital we already have all these records in place, so our hosting customers don’t have to worry about that. It’s important to note, though, that these records don’t guarantee that you will never receive such scam emails, but it will reduce the number of mails you receive, while also improving on proper email delivery.
This is another safety measure you can take to prevent these emails from reaching you. There are way too many options available, having Apache SpamAssassin is already a great leap forward. SpamAssassin catches most spam and is enabled by default on PS Digital hosting accounts, and can be configured, enabled or disabled in your cPanel account.
In this day and age, it is critical to follow the safest course. We all need to be a little more aware of the new and dangerous ways these criminals try to defraud unaware and uninformed users. Please share if you have someone that needs to know about this.