Email scam with hackers claim they have your password

Email scam with hackers claim they have your password

Wednesday 17th October 2018 at 08:26

By Rob


Do not be fooled

Have you been getting emails with one of your old passwords in the subject line and a request for money via bitcoin? Here's why you should NOT BE FOOLED! and here's how to protect yourself in future

 

What it is

There is a "new" scam which is pulling the wool over quite a lot of peoples eyes.

The emails come in a variety of forms, but often look a bit like this:-

Scam email

 

How long it's been going on for

This particular scam has been going on since the summer, but it's one of many scams that have been going on for years and years. And I'm sure it won't be the last one either!

The important thing is not to be fooled, and to stay vigilant.

 

It happens to everyone

This scam email has literally been sent to millions and millions and millions of people. It is not just you, so you don't need to worry that you've been singled out.

 

How they got your password

A lot of major companies, including Adobe, eBay, LinkedIn and Yahoo (twice), as well as smaller companies, have been hacked over the past few years, as often reported on TV news. When they've been hacked, hackers have gotten the username and password you use for that website.

Because most people tend to use the same password for everything, if a hacker has got your password for Yahoo for example, then they've got your password for everything.

These passwords are sold on the "dark web" in bulk (eg you're not singled out).

So vast amounts of people (probably millions) have passwords available to buy on the internet on the dark web in bulk.

This obviously only works if you've been using the same password for everything. If you use different passwords for each website, then this scam doesn't work, or isn't nearly as threatening.

 

Why it's a hollow threat, and why you should ignore the email

Having your password in the email might seem like "proof" the hacker has hacked your machine. But, in reality, the password is easily accessible data, as explained in "How they got your password" above.

It's incredibly unlikely that they have got footage of you watching porn, or, that they have your contact list, or, your Facebook friends list.

Also remember, that if the hacker had all the power and access they claim to have, why would they even need to bribe you? They would simply hack into your computer whilst you were logged onto your internet banking and steal all your money without your permission!

So yes, we, and many experts on the internet agree, it's a false claim, and an email that should just be ignored. We have also received the email (dozens of copies in fact over weeks), and we have ignored it.

For somebody technologically minded, who knows where to look, you could probably buy a database of 10,000 people's email and old passwords, and send them all an email inside the space of an hour. It may seem like a sophisticated scam, but it really isn't.

As explained above, we've received dozens of these scam emails ourselves, to multiple different email addresses, and we've simply ignored the emails. Simple.

 

How to keep your passwords secure

1) Don't use the same password for everything

As explained, scams or threats like this only really "work" or are threatening if you tend to use the same password for everything because if a hacker gets your password for one thing, then they have your password for everything. So.... use a different password for each website / system you use.

2) Use a password manager to manage your passwords

Tracking all those passwords (or remembering them) could be a lot of work! To make your life easier (and we believe in easy!), there are various password managers around on the internet which remember your passwords for each website so that you don't have to.

Here are a few password managers we've used or looked at and like:-

Note - we can't provide assistance with setting these up, you would need to contact these companies direct.

You can also see some reviews and comparisions of a wide variety of password managers on the PC Mag website (click here).

 

Further reading (and references)

Don't just take my word for it.... this scam is well documented, and you can read more on these websites who provide similar advice to that above, but in a little more detail:-

http://uk.businessinsider.com/new-email-scam-uses-old-password-fake-porn-threats-webcam-video-bitcoin-2018-7

https://www.techlicious.com/blog/is-the-porn-blackmail-scam-real/

https://www.tomsguide.com/us/sextortion-scam-username-password,news-27649.html


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By Rob
Wednesday 17th October 2018 at 08:26



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