Remote Control Desktop With A Key Logger Email Scam

Also Known As: Remote Control Desktop With A Key Logger spam
Damage level: Severe

What is "Remote control Desktop with a key logger Email Scam"?

"Remote control Desktop with a key logger Email Scam" is a spam campaign designed to blackmail users who receive the associated malicious emails.

Cyber criminals send an email message stating that the user's computer has been infected with malware, in this case a Remote Control (Remote Access Tool) with a 'key logger', and if the required ransom is not paid, they will proliferate an embarrassing video. If you receive this email, do not worry - this is simply a scam used to trick people into paying cyber criminals.

Remote control Desktop with a key logger Email Scam malware

The cyber criminals who send this email state that the user has visited a pornography website, and by watching a certain video/s, a remote access tool was been enabled on the computer that provided access to the screen and webcam.

This message also states that the remote access tool gave cyber criminals access to Messenger contacts, social networks, and email accounts. It is stated that if the user ignores this email, the criminals will send the supposedly embarrassing video to everyone in the contacts list.

To avoid these consequences, users are encouraged to pay a ransom of $3000 in Bitcoins within 48 hours. This might seem threatening, but if you receive this message, there is no such video and your computer has not been infected with malware (at least not relating to this email).

Your computer is safe and there is likely to be no breach of privacy. Many users receive this email (probably thousands). We strongly recommend that you simply ignore this scam.

Threat Summary:
Name Remote Control Desktop With A Key Logger Email Scam
Threat Type Phishing, Scam, Social Engineering, Fraud
Symptoms Unauthorized online purchases, changed online account passwords, identity theft, illegal access of one's computer.
Distribution methods Deceptive emails, rogue online pop-up ads, search engine poisoning techniques, misspelled domains.
Damage Loss of sensitive private information, monetary loss, identity theft.
Malware Removal (Windows)

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There are many spam campaigns similar to "Remote control Desktop with a key logger Email Scam" (for example, eFax, Important Documents IRS, You Have A Santander Secure, and HM Revenue & Customs Outstanding Amount). Not all scam campaigns make ransom demands.

Other campaigns usually trick users into downloading and opening malicious email attachments (fake bills, invoices, etc.), in most cases, Microsoft Office documents. We strongly recommend that you do not open or download any of these files. Once opened, they download and install high-risk viruses (such as TrickBot, Adwind, FormBook, and other similar viruses).

 These usually perform actions that result in serious privacy and browsing safety issues. They gather sensitive data such as banking details, social media accounts, logins, passwords, etc. It is also possible that some of these viruses open "backdoors" that grant permissions to proliferate other infections (for example, ransomware-type viruses).

These infections might cause financial and data loss, privacy/browsing safety issues, or even more serious problems such as identity theft.

We receive a great deal of feedback from concerned users about this email scam. Here are the most popular questions:

Q. Hi pcrisk.com team, I received an email stating that my computer was hacked and they have a video of me. Now they are asking for a ransom in Bitcoins. I assume this must be true because they listed my real name and password within the email. What should I do?

A. Do not worry about this message. Neither hackers nor cyber criminals have infiltrated/hacked your computer, and there is no video of you watching pornography. The most important thing is to simply ignore this message and do not send any Bitcoins. They probably obtained your email address, name, and password, by stealing it from a compromised website such as Yahoo - such website breaches are common. If required, you can check if any of your accounts are compromised by visiting the haveibeenpwned website.

How do spam campaigns infect computers?

Generally, spam email campaigns are used to proliferate malicious attachments - in most cases, Microsoft Office files (.doc, .ppt and .xls, and so on). To execute certain commands that download and install malware, users are asked to enable macro commands.

This technique is only effective for syber criminals when attachments are opened with Microsoft Office applications such as Word, Excel, etc. If the malicious attachment is opened using other software (not MS Office), the malicious files will not be downloaded. In summary, this type of malicious attachment (via email campaigns) targets Windows users only.

How to avoid installation of malware?

Downloading, update, and install software with care. Study each email received, especially any included attachments. If the attached file has been received from an unknown/untrustworthy email address/sender, or it seems like an irrelevant message or attachment, do not open it.

Bear in mind that most rogue programs/applications are also distributed using fake updaters and a deceptive marketing method called "bundling". Bundling is stealth installation of deceptive applications with regular, third party software. It is important to keep installed software updated, but use implemented functions or tools provided by the official developer only.

Furthermore, avoid using third party download/installation tools, since developers monetize this software by "bundling" (promoting) rogue software. Download software using official sources and direct download links only. Having a legitimate anti-virus/anti-spyware suite installed and running at all times is also very important.

Microsoft Office 2010 or later has a "Protected View" mode that prevents malicious attachments from downloading viruses. Therefore, use more recent versions of MS Office. If you have already opened malicious attachments, we recommend running a scan with Combo Cleaner Antivirus for Windows to automatically eliminate infiltrated malware.

Text presented in the "Remote control Desktop with a key logger Email Scam" email message:

I am aware - one of your passphrases. Lets get right to the purpose. No-one has compensated me to investigate you. You may not know me and you are most likely thinking why you are getting this e mail?
actually, i actually setup a malware on the adult streaming (adult porn) web site and you know what, you visited this web site to have fun (you know what i mean). When you were viewing videos, your web browser started out functioning as a Remote control Desktop having a key logger which provided me accessibility to your screen as well as web cam. after that, my software collected your complete contacts from your Messenger, social networks, and e-mailaccount. and then i created a double-screen video. First part shows the video you were watching (you've got a good taste haha . . .), and second part shows the view of your webcam, & its u.
You get 2 alternatives. We are going to study the options in details:
Very first alternative is to dismiss this email message. in this instance, i most certainly will send your very own video to every bit of your personal contacts and thus imagine about the awkwardness that you receive. and consequently if you happen to be in an intimate relationship, precisely how it will certainly affect?
Number two option is to compensate me $3000. Let us describe it as a donation. Consequently, i most certainly will straight away eliminate your video recording. You could continue your way of life like this never took place and you never will hear back again from me.
You will make the payment via Bitcoin (if you don't know this, search for 'how to buy bitcoin' in Google).
BTC address: 1FqqHxaLvW1fsng92qP1N6NhNT23wzeMsg
[CaSe-sensitive, copy & paste it]
in case you are looking at going to the cops, very well, this e-mail can not be traced back to me. I have taken care of my steps. i am not attempting to charge a fee a lot, i wish to be rewarded. You have 48 hours in order to make the payment. i have a unique pixel within this email message, and right now i know that you have read through this message. if i do not receive the BitCoins, i will definately send your video to all of your contacts including close relatives, co-workers, etc. Nevertheless, if i do get paid, i will erase the recording right away. it's a non:negotiable offer, so do not waste mine time and yours by replying to this mail. if you want to have evidence, reply with Yea! and i will certainly send out your video recording to your 10 friends.

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Quick menu:

Types of malicious emails:

Phishing email icon Phishing Emails

Most commonly, cybercriminals use deceptive emails to trick Internet users into giving away their sensitive private information, for example, login information for various online services, email accounts, or online banking information.

Such attacks are called phishing. In a phishing attack, cybercriminals usually send an email message with some popular service logo (for example, Microsoft, DHL, Amazon, Netflix), create urgency (wrong shipping address, expired password, etc.), and place a link which they hope their potential victims will click on.

After clicking the link presented in such email message, victims are redirected to a fake website that looks identical or extremely similar to the original one. Victims are then asked to enter their password, credit card details, or some other information that gets stolen by cybercriminals.

Email-virus icon Emails with Malicious Attachments

Another popular attack vector is email spam with malicious attachments that infect users' computers with malware. Malicious attachments usually carry trojans that are capable of stealing passwords, banking information, and other sensitive information.

In such attacks, cybercriminals' main goal is to trick their potential victims into opening an infected email attachment. To achieve this goal, email messages usually talk about recently received invoices, faxes, or voice messages.

If a potential victim falls for the lure and opens the attachment, their computers get infected, and cybercriminals can collect a lot of sensitive information.

While it's a more complicated method to steal personal information (spam filters and antivirus programs usually detect such attempts), if successful, cybercriminals can get a much wider array of data and can collect information for a long period of time.

Sextortion email icon Sextortion Emails

This is a type of phishing. In this case, users receive an email claiming that a cybercriminal could access the webcam of the potential victim and has a video recording of one's masturbation.

To get rid of the video, victims are asked to pay a ransom (usually using Bitcoin or another cryptocurrency). Nevertheless, all of these claims are false - users who receive such emails should ignore and delete them.

How to spot a malicious email?

While cyber criminals try to make their lure emails look trustworthy, here are some things that you should look for when trying to spot a phishing email:

  • Check the sender's ("from") email address: Hover your mouse over the "from" address and check if it's legitimate. For example, if you received an email from Microsoft, be sure to check if the email address is @microsoft.com and not something suspicious like @m1crosoft.com, @microsfot.com, @account-security-noreply.com, etc.
  • Check for generic greetings: If the greeting in the email is "Dear user", "Dear @youremail.com", "Dear valued customer", this should raise suspiciousness. Most commonly, companies call you by your name. Lack of this information could signal a phishing attempt.
  • Check the links in the email: Hover your mouse over the link presented in the email, if the link that appears seems suspicious, don't click it. For example, if you received an email from Microsoft and the link in the email shows that it will go to firebasestorage.googleapis.com/v0... you shouldn't trust it. It's best not to click any links in the emails but to visit the company website that sent you the email in the first place.
  • Don't blindly trust email attachments: Most commonly, legitimate companies will ask you to log in to their website and to view any documents there; if you received an email with an attachment, it's a good idea to scan it with an antivirus application. Infected email attachments are a common attack vector used by cybercriminals.

To minimise the risk of opening phishing and malicious emails we recommend using Combo Cleaner Antivirus for Windows

Example of a spam email:

Example of an email spam

What to do if you fell for an email scam?

  • If you clicked on a link in a phishing email and entered your password - be sure to change your password as soon as possible. Usually, cybercriminals collect stolen credentials and then sell them to other groups that use them for malicious purposes. If you change your password in a timely manner, there's a chance that criminals won't have enough time to do any damage.
  • If you entered your credit card information - contact your bank as soon as possible and explain the situation. There's a good chance that you will need to cancel your compromised credit card and get a new one.
  • If you see any signs of identity theft - you should immediately contact the Federal Trade Commission. This institution will collect information about your situation and create a personal recovery plan.
  • If you opened a malicious attachment - your computer is probably infected, you should scan it with a reputable antivirus application. For this purpose, we recommend using Combo Cleaner Antivirus for Windows.
  • Help other Internet users - report phishing emails to Anti-Phishing Working Group, FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center, National Fraud Information Center and U.S. Department of Justice.

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About the author:

Tomas Meskauskas

Tomas Meskauskas - expert security researcher, professional malware analyst.

I am passionate about computer security and technology. I have an experience of over 10 years working in various companies related to computer technical issue solving and Internet security. I have been working as an author and editor for pcrisk.com since 2010. Follow me on Twitter and LinkedIn to stay informed about the latest online security threats. Contact Tomas Meskauskas.

PCrisk security portal is brought by a company RCS LT. Joined forces of security researchers help educate computer users about the latest online security threats. More information about the company RCS LT.

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About PCrisk

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Malware activity

Global malware activity level today:

Medium threat activity

Increased attack rate of infections detected within the last 24 hours.

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