The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) recently issued a statement warning victims of the recent high profile hacks of LinkedIn and Myspace of a new extortion scam commonly used by scammers.
Myspace confirmed May 31st that the social media site was hacked and that the passwords, email addresses and usernames of over half a billion people are for sale online, and 165 million LinkedIn accounts were compromised in May. Experts believe the Myspace data was stolen and sold by the same scammer who hacked LinkedIn.
The FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) made a statement claiming they continue to receive reports from users who receive email extortion attempts. Commonly, the hacker sends an email to the victim claiming to have all their personal information, including name, password, contact info, and credit card information. The hacker warns the victim this information will be released to the victims’ social media contacts, friends, and family if a ransom is not paid, ranging from 2 to 5 Bitcoin ($250- $1,200).
Here’s an example of the recently seen Extortion Emails:
“Unfortunately your data was leaked in a recent corporate hack and I now have your information. I have also used your user profile to find your social media accounts. Using this I can now message all of your friends and family members.”
“If you would like to prevent me from sharing this information with your friends and family members (and perhaps even your employers too) then you need to send the specified bitcoin payment to the following address.”
“If you think this amount is too high, consider how expensive a divorce lawyer is. If you are already divorced then I suggest you think about how this information may impact any ongoing court proceedings. If you are no longer in a committed relationship then think about how this information may affect your social standing amongst family and friends.”
“We have access to your Facebook page as well. If you would like to prevent me from sharing this dirt with all of your friends, family members, and spouse, then you need to send exactly 5 bitcoins to the following address.”
“We have some bad news and good news for you. First, the bad news, we have prepared a letter to be mailed to the following address that details all of your activities including your profile information, your login activity, and credit card transactions. Now for the good news, You can easily stop this letter from being mailed by sending 2 bitcoins to the following address.”
Individuals receiving these kinds of emails are advised to not communicate with the sender under any circumstances, and to instead file a complaint with the IC3.
NNT predicted that 2016 would see an increase in cyber extortion, with the recent LA Presbyterian Hospital setting a very dangerous precedent, and as the lines between social and e-commerce blur, social sites like Pinterest, LinkedIn, Myspace & Twitter become even bigger targets for crooks.
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