The Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In) has issued an advisory warning citizens about a new email extortion fraud. As per the advisory, scammers have sent numerous emails to people stating that their computers have been hacked. The email claims that a video was taken using
their webcam, and that they know their passwords.
After showing the so-called evidence to victims that their computers or email accounts were hacked at some point of time, the scammer then asks for money in the form of Bitcoin or any other untraceable modes of payment. If you do not pay, then these scammers threaten to leak your personal photos or other sensitive information in public.
As per the CERT-In advisory, although the listed passwords, shown as evidence that your account is hacked could be actual passwords that you used in the past, the attacker does not know them by hacking your account, but rather through leaked data breaches shared online.
“These emails are fake, scams, and nothing to worry about,” it says.
“Recipients should not send any payments to the scammers. If the passwords listed are in use or familiar, recipients are advised to change the password at any site that they are being used,” the advisory further adds.
Here’s how the email extortion campaign works:
Firstly, the scammer would try to grab the recipient’s attention by writing their old password in the mail, which could look the following:
“I know, xxx, is your password. You don’t know me and you’re thinking why you received this email, right?”
After that, the scammer would craft a story containing computer jargons in order to convince the recipient that the scammer is a very skilled hacker,which could look the following:
“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.”
This could be the final step before asking for ransom, so here the scammer would claim to have recorded personal video(s)by compromising the recipient’s webcam, which could look the following:
“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 the next part recorded your webcam (Yep! It’s you doing nasty things!). ”
Now, the scammer will ask for the ransom in the form of Bitcoin (BTC), which could look the following:
“What should you do?
Well, I believe, $1900 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).
(It is cAsE sensitive, so copy and paste it) ”
Lastly, the scammer will give the deadline of 24hrs to comply and threaten to send videos to their relatives, coworkers etc.