According to a recent report, criminals were able to steal $332,000 in Bitcoin (BTC) after sending a blackmail scam via email. The report was released by the cybercrime investigation firm Digital Shadows and has been reported by The Next Web.
Experts called it the sextortion scam and it allows fraudsters to steal Bitcoin from their victims. The email sent by these scammers says that they have recorded the victims viewing explicit content online using their webcam. In order for the hacker not to release the footage, users have to pay a ransom in Bitcoin.
The funds were deposited in 92 different Bitcoin addresses. The average transaction was $540. According to several comments on social media, they still receive emails from these scammers.
I keep getting emails threatening to send videos of me with my todger out to all my contacts unless I send them a shedload of bitcoins. The #Sextortion scammers are really boring
— Tim Trent (@AluciaCharter) February 18, 2019
As per the report, there are different groups with different levels of sophistication. There are some emails that seem to be poorly written, while others have better grammar and a higher level of refinement. Some of these sophisticated emails were sent from outlook.com addresses.
There were 792,000 emails sent to users from all over the world and from servers that were hosted in five different countries. Most of the emails were sent from Vietnam, Brazil and India. These countries sent 8.5%, 5.3% and 4.7% of the total emails, respectively.
It is important to note that the email servers could also have been compromised by the scammers, making it more difficult for analysts to understand where these emails were really sent from.
As cryptocurrencies expand all over the world, cybercriminals are starting to find new ways of stealing users’ funds. The most dangerous attacks are those that affect cryptocurrency exchanges that hold users’ private keys. Earlier in January 2019, the cryptocurrency exchange Cryptopia lost more than $2.4 million in virtual currencies from users after being attacked.
During the second half of 2018, the extortionist thedarkoverlord (TDO) aimed at stealing data in batches on criminal forums. Additionally, they were performing online crowdfunding campaigns.
This is not the first time that there are groups that send emails trying to steal users funds asking a ransom in Bitcoin. As we wrote in the past at Bitcoin Exchange Guide, individuals were receiving letters that threaten to expose their dark secrets to their wives. In order to avoid this, users had to send Bitcoin to an address written in the letter.
Crypto investors should always store their digital currencies on hardware wallets and avoid falling in these kinds of scams.
Another way of attacking users is by using ransomware. Attackers block data from the victim and to release it they have to pay a ransom in Bitcoin or another virtual currency. However, experts recommend not to pay the ransom.