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Sextortion emails and porn scams are back – don’t let them scare you!

2020-04-10 18:02

We’ve seen a recent surge of concern about sextortion emails over the last few days.

A sextortion or porn scam email is where cybercriminals email you out of the blue to claim that they’ve implanted malware on your computer, and have therefore been able to keep tabs on your online activity.

The crooks go on to claim that they’ve taken screenshots of you looking at a porn site – along with video recorded from your webcam.

They say they’ve put the screenshots and the webcam footage side-by-side to create an embarrassing video that they’re going to send to your friends and family…

…unless you pay them blackmail money, usually somewhere from $1,500 to $4,000, paid in bitcoins to a BTC address that the crooks provide in the email.

The latest one doing the rounds looks like this (the actual content varies considerably from scam to scam but the basic idea is the same):

I’m aware, [REDACTED] is your password. You may not know me, and you are most likely wondering why you’re getting this mail, right?


I installed a malware on the adult vids (sex sites) site, and there’s more, you visited this site to have fun (you know what I mean). Once you were there on the website, my malware took control of your browser.

It started operating as a keylogger and remote desktop protocol which gave me access to your webcam. Immediately after that my software collected your complete contacts from your Messenger, FB, and email. I created a double-screen video. First part shows the video you were watching (you have a good taste lol…), and the second part displays the recording of your webcam.

Precisely what should you do?

Well, I believe, $1900 is a fair price for your little secret. You will make the payment through Bitcoin (if you don’t know this, search “how to buy bitcoin” in Google).

In reality, the video doesn’t exist and the whole thing is a scam to prey on your fears.

Why would you believe the crooks?

As many Naked Security readers have pointed out, if the crooks really wanted to convince you they had such a video, they’d put a still frame or a short clip from it in the sextortion email.

But they don’t have a video so they have to invent some “proof” that they have access to your computer.

In the example above, the crooks have included a password of yours (it may actually have been a password you used, but it probably dates back many years); in other sextortion samples, we’ve seen the crooks including phone numbers instead.

Usually, the crooks get this “evidence” from information that’s already circulating in the cybercriminal underworld as the result of a data breach, so the “proof” they have didn’t come from your computer at all, and doesn’t “prove” anything.

What to do

These emails are scams, and are just a pack of lies to frighten you into sending money.

Our advice is simply to delete the offending emails and move on, but you may have friends or family who have received one of these emails and are afraid of ignoring it.

Even if they never watch porn and don’t have a webcam, they may feel scared and confronted by the claims of malware implanted on their computer.

To help set your mind at rest, we made this video:

By the way, if you’re looking for free anti-virus tools of the type we recommended in the video, you’ll find links in our Free Tools section below, from Sophos Home for Windows and Mac all the way to Sophos Antivirus for Linux.

Latest Naked Security podcast


Click-and-drag on the soundwaves below to skip to any point in the podcast. You can also listen directly on Soundcloud.

Source: -meht-tel-tnod-kcab-era-smacs-nrop-dna-sliame-noitrotxes/01/40/0202/moc.sohpos.ytirucesdekan

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