A new blackmail operation is using cryptocurrency to obtain money from the users. Emin Gün Sirer, computer science professor at Cornell University has shared an email which looks like to leverage leaked passwords to exploit Bitcoin out of the victims by ordering them to pay a ransom.
Here’s a new form of cryptoblackmail. A friend received this out of the blue. Presumably, it’s getting sent to everyone on the haveibeenpwnd list.
Be careful out there, never pay, never negotiate. pic.twitter.com/VFl5s1duCe
— Emin Gün Sirer (@el33th4xor) July 11, 2018
The blackmailers are taking advantage of this situation that the users are watching pornography. They also claim to have more details such as what exactly the users are looking at and what the users are doing while watching. But if you also have received this email, please ignore it and kindly do not respond.
It is always advisable to change the passwords from time to time. At present, there is no clear statistics that shows if how many users have become the victim of this scam so far. But according to the Nextweb, this particular Bitcoin address of the blackmailer has received nearly 2.8 BTC ($17000 approximately) in the last couple of days.
You can use tools such as HaveIBeenPwned to see if your account information has been misused. This was established in 2013 after mishandling of Adobe’s data came into the limelight. Though the Sirer has put forward that the leaked passwords have matched the ones on HaveIbeenPwned’s database, Troy Hunt, the founder has clarified that this might not be the case in a tweet.
Yeah, how is the conclusion being drawn that it’s related to @haveibeenpwned? I can’t see anything to indicate that.
— Troy Hunt (@troyhunt) July 11, 2018
We will come up with a post on how you can browse online more securely in the next couple of hours to prevent you from falling into the hands of these blackmailers. For now, you can use some tape over your webcam next time when you are alone. However, we are not sure if those blackmailer folks really have the recording videos.
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