The new Coronavirus extortion scam asks for $4000 in Bitcoin or scammers will infect the victim’s family with the virus.
In the past, we’ve seen sextortionists email blackmailing people them by claiming to have access to their private data which may involve text messages, photos, and videos. But recently, with the Coronavirus pandemic, such attackers have started using the virus as an additional point in their emails.
How they do this is by emailing people warning them that they could infect one’s whole family with the coronavirus while leaking your secret data in the process. The subject line is cleverly positioned to include your name and password in succession attracting your attention in the first place and prompting you to open the email.
Further, they propose that if one wants to escape this life destructing humiliation, they should pay a certain amount of money within a specific time frame via a cryptocurrency such as Bitcoin. The choice of using such a payment option for a good sum of money such as $4000 as in the email below is to guard against traceability.
Here is a full preview of the email sent by the extortionists:
In some cases to make it all the more convincing, they may also add a few breached credentials of yours which are easily available online giving the impression that they can access your data too if they have accessed your login details.
Nonetheless, to conclude, it is important you remember a few things. Firstly, it is scientifically impossible to infect someone with the disease over the internet(save the cringe-ness of some) and so just ignore such claims.
Secondly, if someone alleges to have your private data, it is highly likely that they won’t unless you receive the attached evidence indicating so. In the latter case, it is recommended that you get in touch with your local cybercrime unit as there’s no guarantee the blackmailing will stop even if you do make the payment.
Lastly, if you’re a cyber ninja, do not try to hack someone back, that’s illegal and can land you in hot waters. It’s always wise to coordinate with law enforcement agencies if you believe you can track someone down.
Nevertheless, beware of ongoing cyber attacks related to Coronavirus. For instance, last week, HackRead.com published a report highlighting how dark web hackers are offering “online sales” on hacking tools but in reality, it’s just another trick to pwn unsuspected users.
In another recent report, researchers exposed how hackers have been using fake live maps of Coronavirus to deliver malware. However, it doesn’t end here. A so-called Coronavirus app was also caught using live-map to spread CovidLock ransomware.
If you would like to research the ongoing pandemic or like to keep an eye on which country has been infected and which not, follow Bing COVID Tracker, Ncov2019.live or Johns Hopkins University’s live map for Coronavirus outbreak.