Cybercriminals have recently threatened Facebook users that they will leak their private sensitive videos unless they pay thousands of dollars in Bitcoin. Action Fraud, the UK’s national fraud and cybercrime reporting center, is currently aware of the situation. They have alerted and advised victims who have received the threatening email to not respond to the criminals and contact the police.
Cybercriminals blackmail Victims and Threaten to Release Sensitive Videos
According to The Express, the threat initially began with a victim receiving an email from the cybercriminal, telling the victim that they know the password for a particular website that they use. Unfortunately, while most cybercriminals are bluffing, the victims mentioned that the passwords are genuine. The letter stated, “I’m aware, XXXXXX is your password. You don’t know me and you‘re probably thinking why you are getting this mail right?”
While it’s uncertain how the cybercriminal managed to access these passwords, the cybercriminal mentioned that the passwords were obtained after they place malware on a video on an adult website. The letter went on to state that “while you were watching video clips, your internet browser starting out working as a RDP (Remote Desktop) with a keylogger which gave me access to your display screen as well as your web camera.”
Up to this point, it seems pretty alarming. However, the cybercriminal went further to state that their software program managed to access all of the contacts from the Victim’s email, Facebook, and Messenger. They were also willing to release a double screen video. “First part shows the video you were watching (you have nice taste omg) and 2nd part displays the recording of your webcam.”
The crook requested $2900 in Bitcoin to keep the victim’s “little secret” hidden. The victim however only had one day to make the payment. The threats continued in the letter as the cybercriminal mentioned that they have a pixel which can track when people have opened and read an email.
“If I do not receive the BitCoins, I will definately (sic) send out your video recording to all of your contacts including close relatives, co-worker, and many others,” said the letter. Action Fraud however advised anyone who has received the email to not respond and contact the police. The UK Crime reporting unit has received over 110 reports from blackmailed victims.
Bitcoin Ransom and Ransomware have increased over the years
Unfortunately, over the years, there’s been “a massive escalation” when it comes to the attempts and size of demand concerning Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, said Michael Tanenbaum, an executive vice-president at Chubb. “The rise in price of Bitcoin correlates.” According to Bloomberg, even corporate ransom and ransomware attacks are exceeding $1 million which is significantly larger than the previous maximum amount of $17,000.
Motherboard reported last year that, the WannaCry and NotPetya ransomware attacks also became quite common. The MIT Technology Review agreed and demonstrated that over $45 million had been paid to a Bitcoin address responsible for the ransom.
However, even traditional crime, especially traditional kidnappers have also demanded Bitcoin in exchange for releasing people. Kidnappers demanding for cryptocurrencies have occurred all around the world from the kidnapping of the Brazillian woman who was married to a Bitcoin businessman to an abduction of the chairman of a Hong Kong-listed oil company.
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