People are being sent horrifying messages threatening to post video of their most intimate moments on the internet.
What’s more, the messages are shockingly believable: they appear to include secret information about the recipient that suggests the threats are real.
But in fact the messages are a scam. And they seem to be relying on the vast number of stolen passwords that are available across the internet.
The messages always begin with the most convincing part of the email: the claim that the person sending it has your password, which is included in the message itself. After that, it begins with a series of threats and demand for a ransom.
It goes on to claim that the sender has been able to break into the computer and use some kind of malware, which is often wrongly identified, as a way of watching a person’s screen and taking over their webcam. It claims that by doing so the sender has been able to put together a video of the recipient watching pornography.
If the person receiving the message doesn’t pay a vast amount of money in bitcoin – often $1600, though the number seems to vary – then that video will be sent to the user’s family and friends, the message claims.
Various parts of the message flag it up as a fake: despite claiming to have spent a great deal of time watching the recipient of the email, for instance, the person supposedly sending the message is unable to give any detail at all on what they have found.
But for senders they might be outweighed by the fact that the message includes a password, suggesting that there really has been some kind of breach. And in fact there has – though not of the kind the message claims.
YOU CAN SAFELY IGNORE/DELETE THESE MESSAGES, HOWEVER IF THE PASSWORD SENT WITHIN THE EMAIL RESEMBLES ANY PASSWORD YOU ARE CURRENTLY USING (THIS INCLUDES INTERNET ACCOUNTS ETC), PLEASE CHANGE IT!!
Please inform your team members regarding this.
My nickname in darknet is garrot24.
I hacked this mailbox more than six months ago, through it I infected your operating system with a virus (trojan) created by me and have been monitoring you for a long time.
So, your password from is
Even if you changed the password after that – it does not matter, my virus intercepted all the caching data on your computer and automatically saved access for me.
I have access to all your accounts, social networks, email, browsing history.
Accordingly, I have the data of all your contacts, files from your computer, photos and videos.
I was most struck by the intimate content sites that you occasionally visit.
You have a very wild imagination, I tell you!
During your pastime and entertainment there, I took screenshot through the camera of your device, synchronizing with what you are watching.
Oh my god! You are so funny and excited!
I think that you do not want all your contacts to get these files, right?
If you are of the same opinion, then I think that $829 is quite a fair price to destroy the dirt I created.
Send the above amount on my BTC wallet (bitcoin): 1NXNt72qfMhPZDffUEqryCYpEUzyR6LmgH
As soon as the above amount is received, I guarantee that the data will be deleted, I do not need it.
Otherwise, these files and history of visiting sites will get all your contacts from your device.
Also, I’ll send to everyone your contact access to your email and access logs, I have carefully saved it!
Since reading this letter you have 48 hours!
After your reading this message, I’ll receive an automatic notification that you have seen the letter.
I hope I taught you a good lesson.
Do not be so nonchalant, please visit only to proven resources, and don’t enter your passwords anywhere!
End of email example