A new sextortion email campaign is going around accusing users of watching child pornography. Someone introducing themselves as N1ghTm4r3 demand £5000 in exchange for not posting videos of users watching illegal content.
Emails that claim to have a video of users watching pornography are called sextortion scams, as they threaten to expose the video if users do not agree to pay a certain sum of money. There have been numerous versions of such scams but they are all pretty much the same. Supposedly, malware was placed on a user’s computer when they visited an adult website. The malware allegedly recorded a video of the user watching pornographic videos and threatens to send it to his/her contacts, which it has stolen from the infected computer. For shock value, scammers reveal users’ passwords. A lot of users do not realize that the passwords are from old data breaches, and take them as proof that the email is legitimate.
Sextortion scam emails have been around for a couple of years now but while they all threaten to release sexual videos of users, this new campaign goes further with threats to expose users as pedophiles.
Sextortion emails accuse users of watching child pornography
IT security company ESET Ireland has warned users about a new sextortion scam email campaign that threatens to expose videos of users watching child pornography. While the email is nothing more than a scam, there is no doubt that more than a few users will be caught off guard.
The emails come with the subject line of “I know you are a pedophile…”, and then proceed to explain that victims have downloaded an application with a “special code” a couple of months ago, which allowed the hacker to spy on them. The sender of the email introduces himself/herself as an internet security specialist with affiliation to the Anonymous group. They claim to have observed the victim for months and have supposedly collected extensive evidence about their interest in children. Four videos of them watching child pornography will be allegedly posted online and sent to all their contacts if they do not agree to pay £5000.
When the email is ignored and no payment is made, some users receive follow up emails with more threats. As punishment for ignoring the initial email, the scammer claims to have posted the videos along with victims personal information on a forum. They give them a couple of days to make the payment, otherwise they will send the videos to all of users’ contacts.
While receiving such an email can give anyone quite a scare, the emails are harmless. If you have received one, know that the scammer has not installed malware on your computer, there is no video of you watching anything, and you certainly do not need to pay £5000. What you do need to do is mark the email as spam and delete it. As a precaution, you should also scan your computer with anti-malware software.
It should be noted that some sextortion emails have files attached to them, and opening them could result in a serious malware infection. The email may claim that the attached file contains all of victim’s passwords or it’s one of those videos of them watching adult content or illegal pornography. Whatever the case may be, never open those attachments as they are likely to contain malware that could actually steal passwords.