Email Scam – Has my password been stolen?

Have you received an email which mentions one of your old passwords and a request for bitcoin?

There is a new email scam that is doing the rounds which is really quite terrifying if you have never heard of it before.

Not all of the emails are the same, but they do have similar features:

  • The subject line includes a password you currently use or have used in the past.
  • The email states that this password has been used to access your machine and record a video of you or taken a photograph using your webcam.
  • The threat is that they will reveal your adult-website habits and send a photo/video to your contacts if you don’t pay the bitcoin ransom.

How have they got my details?

It is suspected that the criminals may have gained the password details from an old data breach. Databases from websites such as LinkedIn, Yahoo and eBay have all been stolen in recent years, to name but a few.

The website www.haveibeenpwned.com allows you to check to see if you have an email account that has been compromised in a data breach.

The attackers don’t have a video or photograph of you or access to your contacts, and they haven’t been able to install malicious code on your computer.

In reality, they’re taking a password from a database that’s available online, sending it to you, and hoping you’re scared enough to believe their story and send them bitcoin. It is also likely that the scam is automated so you probably haven’t been specifically targeted.

How to protect yourself

  • Don’t reply to the email, or pay the ransom, this only highlights that you are vulnerable and are more likely to be targeted again.
  • Flag the email as junk/spam to stop you from receiving similar emails from the same sender again.
  • Perform password resets as soon as possible on all accounts where you have used the password mentioned in the email. Always use a different strong and complex password for important accounts.
  • Make sure that your Anti-Virus software is up to date.
  • No matter what you do, don’t ever pay a ransom or give you bank details through any email that you receive.
  • If you have any questions, please feel free to call us on 0121 355 4474

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