4920 Constellation Drive
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firstname.lastname@example.org | 651.407.8555
Blackmail emails that were previously sent only to personal accounts are now being sent to business accounts. Find out what the emails are saying so you can be prepared in case you receive one.
In 2018, people were receiving emails in their personal accounts that tried to blackmail them into paying a ransom. People are now reporting that they are receiving similar emails at work.
In the emails, the blackmailers state they have evidence that the recipient has viewed a video on a pornography website because they hacked into the recipient’s computer. Specifically, they claim to have recorded what the recipient was watching and doing while viewing the video by using the device’s screen-capturing capabilities and webcam. The blackmailers then threaten to send the recording to everyone in the recipient’s email and social-media contact lists if the person does not pay the specified ransom.
The Blackmail Emails Are Actually Phishing Scams
The blackmail emails that people have been receiving at work and at home are actually phishing attacks being sent out by cybercriminals. The emails contain several classic signs of phishing scams:
In some of the blackmail emails, the cybercriminals have been including a password that the recipient currently uses or has used in the past as “proof” they have hacked the person’s computer. However, email address-password pairs are often stolen in data breaches and can be easily purchased on the dark web. So, although alarming, the inclusion of a password does not prove the recipient’s computer has been compromised.
What to Do If You Receive This Phishing Email
If you receive a phishing email like this (or any other type of phishing email), here is what you should and shouldn’t do:
Scan your device for malware using your device’s security software as a precaution.