/ Security

The scariest email you've ever received?

The internet has seen its fair share of scams and tricks to squeeze money out of users all over the world, but a new kind of a scam is doing the rounds, and I personally, have never seen anything like it before...

Taking a whole new angle on the "phishing" approach, these scammers are throwing out the old method of sucking away your information and funds using trickery and deception, and have decided to go an a full frontal assault. Check it out below!scanny

As you can see, the email makes several claims:

  1. The scammer knows your password for something you're using on the internet.
  2. They have informed you that while you were watching "Adult Video Clips", their malware on the website had access to the video you were watching.
  3. Their malware also gained access to your webcam and recorded you while you were watching these "clips"
  4. And finally, the malware stole all your contact information off social media applications (like Facebook, Messenger etc.)

The scammer then gets to the point, if you don't pay up a sum of money worth of Bitcoin to them within a day, a video will supposedly be created showing what was on your screen and your face while watching what was on your screen. This video will then be sent to everyone on your contact list, and when was the last time you checked who was actually on there...bitty

Scary stuff right?
Well, yes and no.

If you were to receive this email, don't panic! There's a few ways of "fixing" this problem.

  1. Change your passwords:
    Yeah, change them all. And as much as having nice simple passwords is great for ease of access, it doesn't make your accounts easy to access just for you... Use numbers, special characters, dollar signs, capital letters, hey, maybe even throw in a space for good measure! All that receiving the email could mean is that somewhere out there in the big wide web, your information fell into the wrong hands. But you're not alone, there are apparently 5 billion accounts worldwide, which have been said to be unsafe to use.pass

  2. While this email may seem scary, the chances of the scammers having those recordings of you are close to nothing, yet as an extra precaution, if you are using a USB webcam, maybe unplug it from your computer when it's not actually needed...
    For you laptop users, there is a way to functionally turn off the webcam after digging through some settings, however, if you're still worried, some good 'ol duct tape does the trick just fine!webby

At Vanilla, we've received some calls and emails from concerned customers who have received these sorts of emails, some have slightly different wording, or different amounts of money being demanded, but they're all the same in their threats.
Here's an example:

I am well aware passwordguess one of your passphrase. Lets get right to purpose. You do not know me and you are probably wondering why you're getting this email? Neither anyone has compensated me to investigate you.

Well, I actually setup a software on the adult streaming (porno) web site and do you know what, you visited this web site to experience fun (you know what I mean). While you were viewing videos, your browser started out operating as a RDP that has a key logger which provided me with access to your display and also cam. after that, my software program gathered every one of your contacts from your Messenger, FB, as well as e-mail . After that I made a double video. 1st part shows the video you were viewing (you have a good taste omg), and next part displays the recording of your web cam, yea it is u.

You have got two different solutions. Shall we look at the possibilities in particulars:

First solution is to neglect this email message. In this case, I most certainly will send your video clip to every one of your contacts and then visualize concerning the embarrassment that you receive. Keep in mind if you happen to be in a romance, how it can affect?

Second alternative would be to give me $7000. Lets refer to it as a donation. As a result, I most certainly will instantaneously discard your video recording. You will keep going on everyday life like this never took place and you would never hear back again from me.

You'll make the payment via Bitcoin (if you don't know this, search for "how to buy bitcoin" in Google).

BTC Address to send to: 1N8gj4tWfHBYdfNbPv573GvvnfThj19MT7

CASE sensitive copy and paste it

Should you are thinking about going to the law, surely, this email message cannot be traced back to me. I have taken care of my moves. I am not attempting to charge a fee a huge amount, I prefer to be paid. I have a specific pixel in this mail, and right now I know that you have read this message. You have one day to make the payment. If I don't receive the BitCoins, I will, no doubt send your video to all of your contacts including family members, coworkers, and many others. Nonetheless, if I do get paid, I will destroy the recording right away. If you really want evidence, reply with Yeah! then I will certainly send out your video recording to your 9 contacts. This is a non-negotiable offer and thus please do not waste mine time & yours by responding to this mail.

Looking past the very questionable usage of the English language, this threat sounds pretty scary, and some people have taken it seriously enough that when some of these Bitcoin accounts were investigated, they were found to have about US$17,000 in them...

But our trusty support at Vanilla were quick to assure customers that all was well, and that if any precaution be taken, it is to change up your passwords as well as possibly creating different passwords for different websites that you visit.person

All in all though, this scam will go down in the books as another attempt to steal and cheat internet users, there will be many more of these to come in the future. Keeping oneself safe while using the internet must always be a priority.

Stay aware and stay safe!

For those who are still worried about internet security, here is a great article about making yourself safer on the internet:
https://thenextweb.com/contributors/2018/06/22/11-ways-to-keep-information-safer-in-the-cloud/

Kyle Nash

Kyle Nash

I am a university student studying an undergrad in Neuropsychology and Mandarin Chinese and I live in Cape Town.

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