15 October 2018

Sextortion Scam Emails

Sextortion is the act of using sexual information, images or videos to blackmail a person. There are a series of Sextortion emails doing the rounds for the last few months and they are becoming more prevalent in Ireland. In fact, we see new examples on a weekly basis.

The general idea behind the scam is that the the scammer sends you an email showing you your username and password and tells you that they have video footage of you whilst you watched porn. They then try hold you to ransom and demand payment with the threat of releasing the video to all your contacts if you don’t pay up.  The following is an example of an sextortion email receive by a client recently. I have redacted their email address and password for obvious privacy reasons.

From: Cathy Sollee <> 
Sent: Sunday 30 September 2018 19:21
To: redacted
Subject: redacted (This shown their actual username and password)

redacted‘ is one of your passphrase:) My name is Cathy. 

One of the porn videos website you watched had my malware installed which taped a video of your filthy sexual doings with the help of your webcam and also recorded the clip you were watching! You happen to be appearing pleasing in the video. 

We have every one of your e mail also FB contacts because my malware gave me access to all of them. 

I’ll email your video to your friends unless you pay me 4000 USD via B I T C O I N S within the next 36 hours to the below address: 
B I T C O I N Address: 1Ji1NjzGXcJLD7tUDfYZPUjhwwB7GaXFnB 
Copy-Paste the address because it is CasE SenSiTiVe. 

Once I receive the money, I will destroy your video and every other details I have about you. 

If I do not receive the money, I will send your recording to every contact of yours. Imagine about the shame you will definitely get. and definitely in case you are in a committed relationship, just how it will affect? 

Want proof? Reply “Yes”, and I will email your recording to 7 of your email contacts instantly. 

Respectfully yours 
Cathy Sollee

The fact that the scammer has your actual username and password can be enough to convince a lot of people that the video might actually exist. The truth is that the scammer has simply bought the hacked username and password from a source on the dark web. The hacked username and passwords would have been part of a previous breach such as Dropbox, Adobe, Target, Ebay etc. Quite often the password shown is an old password that the user has not used for quite some time.

The best advice I can offer on this is to simply ignore the email. It’s a scam and the video doesn’t exist. Do not pay the ransom. It’s a timely reminder as to why you need to change your passwords on a semi-regular basis and not to re-use passwords across multiple platforms. Finally, as mentioned on other posts here on this blog, consider two-factor authentication, as passwords aren’t enough anymore.

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