News

“Fake-tortion” Attacks

There is a new, sophisticated email scam you need to watch out for. The sophisticated attackers are targeting potential victims in an email sequence that starts with pornography and adult dating links, which are then followed up with extortion attempts.

IT security company Forcepoint says it picked up more than 33,500 such emails in August, and Australian email addresses were used to test the criminal campaign.

The email claims that a virus was installed on a porn website which recorded the victim through their webcam. “Then my software collected all your contacts from messengers, e-mails and social networks,” it says. “If I don’t receive my Bitcoins I’ll send video with you to all your contacts.”

Carl Leonard, principal security analyst at Forcepoint, said cyber-extortion was a prevalent tactic today. While it largely takes the form of ransomware, he said data exposure threats were growing in popularity.

“Cyber-blackmailing continues to prove as an effective tactic for cybercriminals to cash out on their malicious operations,” he said. “In this case, it appears that a threat actor group originally involved in adult dating scams have expanded their operations to cyber-extortion campaigns as a result of this trend.”

If this type of scam email makes it through the spam filters into your inbox, do not click on any links, do not reply, and delete the message (or click on the Phish Alert button). Do not download any software to check your computer for viruses, but follow procedure to report these types of criminal emails.

Remember: Think Before You Click.  It is more important than ever these days.