Paying Bitcoin ransoms: why not submit to email hack blackmail
In 2019, hackers blackmailing online with Bitcoin are targetting people who discover the crypto ecosystem. In this article, we explain why you should never give in to these scammers.
Depending on their internet provider, some victims receive one or more identical emails stating that videos were taken without their knowledge via their webcam while visiting pornographic sites, and threaten to share videos unless a ransom of €500 in bitcoins is paid.
How do hackers access my information?
There is nothing easier than buying thousands of email addresses on the Internet. Lists circulate on the dark web, either from companies whose databases have really been hacked, or from unscrupulous sites that resell the emails of people who have created an account on their site.
Of course, the criminals did not hack the webcams in question: they just send a massive amount emails knowing that some victims will take them seriously, without any proof.
Unfortunately, it is not even possible to trust the email address from which a message comes, especially on email provider services, whose protection is not optimal: a good hacker is able to not display any sending email address in his message, or even to display the victim’s own address.
What should I do if I am targeted?
If you receive a message containing this type of blackmail, ignore the email. It is very unlikely that what criminals tell you is true. They simply had access to your email address via a ramdom list, and never hacked your computer.
In France, the head of OCLTIC (Central Office against Information and Communication Technology Crime) François-Xavier Masson insists on the fact that ”we never pay”. We do not reply to the email, we report it on Pharos (platform of the Ministry of the Interior dedicated to tracking illegal content circulating on the Internet) with email addresses and the bitcoin address.
If you want to be sure that your webcam is totally unable to spy on you, there is a simple and cheap way, used by Mark Zuckerberg himself: a piece of tape on the webcam and that’s it.
To find out where your email address leaked from, there is a relatively simple trick to use, called the ”plus hack”. Go to this page to learn how to use a different email address for each site you visit.
Finally, look on the bright side: this misadventure will have served you to discover Bitcoin, which is fortunately not only used to swindle people, but also represents opportunities, especially in terms of investment. We invite you to find out more about this subject in our other Coinhouse articles.