THIS IS NOT A JOKE Email Scam

Also Known As: possible malware infections
Distribution: Low
Damage level: Severe

"THIS IS NOT A JOKE" removal guide

What is "THIS IS NOT A JOKE"?

People behind the "THIS IS NOT A JOKE" spam campaign are scammers who send this email to many people hoping that a percentage of them will take it seriously. The main purpose of this email is to trick recipients into transferring money to cyber criminals. The scammers claim that they have recorded a compromising video of the user and will distribute it if their demands are not met. Note that this is just one of many similar scams and should not be trusted. The best solution is to simply ignore this email and others of its kind.

THIS IS NOT A JOKE spam campaign

Scammers claim that the recipient of this email has visited an adult website and, in doing so, triggered download and installation of software (supposedly a remote access tool). They state that this program allowed them to access the user's webcam and they have recorded a compromising video. Furthermore, the installed software apparently also downloaded all email and Facebook contacts. Scammers behind this email threaten to proliferate the video if their demands to pay $2000 are not met within 72 hours. A Bitcoin wallet address is provided for transfer of the ransom amount in a cryptocurrency. As we mentioned earlier, this a common scam. Unfortunately, scams of this type are still used and some users fall for them. Never trust emails such as "THIS IS NOT A JOKE" - none of the statements are correct.

Threat Summary:
Name THIS IS NOT A JOKE 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.
Removal

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Other scams similar to "THIS IS NOT A JOKE" include "I Know * Is One Of Your Pass", "Yоu May Not Know Mе", and "Wе Arе Nоt Going To Steal A Lot Of Time". All are used to extort money from people by threatening to leak a compromising video or photo, unless ransom payments are transferred. Note, however, that not all spam campaigns are used to extort money (at least not directly) - some emails trick people into installing computer infections. Cyber criminals achieve this by sending emails that contain malicious attachments such as Microsoft Office or PDF documents, archive files (ZIP, RAR, and other files), executables (.exe), and so on. Scammers attach the files to infect computers with high-risk computer infections such as LokiBot, TrickBot, Emotet, AZORult, Adwind, and so on. These infections are invoked by tricking people into opening the presented attachments. When installed, these malicious apps steal personal details such as logins, passwords, banking details, etc. They usually cause problems relating to privacy, browsing safety, financial loss, or they infect computers with programs such as ransomware.

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

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 think this must be true because they listed my real name and password in the email. What should I do?

A: Do not worry about this email. Neither hackers nor cyber criminals have infiltrated/hacked your computer and there is no video of you watching pornography. Simply ignore the message and do not send any Bitcoins. Your email, name, and password was probably stolen from a compromised website such as  Yahoo (these website breaches are common). If you are concerned, you can check if your accounts have been compromised by visiting the haveibeenpwned website.

How do spam campaigns infect computers?

Spam campaigns infect computers through malicious attachments, which can only do damage to the computer/operating system if the attachment (or website link) is opened. For example, if the attachment is a MS Office document (Word, Excel, or other), once downloaded and opened, it will demand permission to enable macro commands. If enabled, the malicious document will have permission to download and install a computer infection. In other cases, if the attachment is an archive file, its contents must first be extracted and an executable file executed, etc. No matter what the file type, spam emails cannot do any harm if the file remains unopened.

How to avoid installation of malware?

Before downloading and opening any attachment (or link), study it first. If the attached file (or entire email) seem irrelevant or has been received from a suspicious, unknown email address, it is better to leave it unopened and to simply ignore it. Do not use third party software downloaders, installers, and other similar sources to download or install software. These tools are often monetized by distributing rogue apps. Install and download software carefully: check available "Custom", "Advanced" settings of any download/installation set-up, deselect offers to install unwanted software, and only then finish the download or installation process. Update installed software using implemented functions or tools provided by official software developers. Using other (unofficial) updaters might cause installation of malicious programs, rather than the updates or other improvements. Use Microsoft Office versions from 2010 or later. These include "Protected View" mode that prevents untrustworthy attachments from downloading and installing computer infections. If you have already opened malicious attachments, we recommend running a scan with Spyhunter for Windows to automatically eliminate infiltrated malware.

Text presented in the "THIS IS NOT A JOKE" email message:

Subject: Hi perv. I recorded you masturbating! I have captured '******.mp4'!

ATTN: ***********

THIS IS NOT A JOKE - I AM DEAD SERIOUS!

Hi perv,

The last time you visited a p0rnographic website with teens,
you downloaded and installed software I developed.

My program has turned on your camera and recorded
the process of your masturbation.

My software has also downloaded all your email contact lists
and a list of your friends on Facebook.

I have both the 'Support.mp4' with your masturbation
as well as a file with all your contacts on my hard drive.

You are very perverted!

If you want me to delete both the files and keep the secret,
you must send me Bitcoin payment. I give you 72 hours for payment.

If you don't know how to send Bitcoins, visit Google.

Send 2.000 USD to this Bitcoin address immediately:

38mopXuQ2t9gcXWJpVwwZSa484pZyzDJQd
(copy and paste)

1 BTC = 3,580 USD right now, so send exactly 0.564502 BTC
to the address provided above.


Do not try to cheat me!
As soon as you open this Email I will know you opened it.

This Bitcoin address is linked to you only,
so I will know if you sent the correct amount.
When you pay in full, I will remove the files and deactivate my program.

If you don't send the payment, I will send your masturbation video
to ALL YOUR FRIENDS AND ASSOCIATES from your contact list I hacked.

Here are the payment details again:

Send 0.564502 BTC to this Bitcoin address:

----------------------------------------
38mopXuQ2t9gcXWJpVwwZSa484pZyzDJQd
----------------------------------------

You ??n visit police but nobody will help you. I know what I am doing.
I don't live in your country and I know how to stay anonymous.

Don't try to deceive me - I will know it immediately - my spy ware is
recording all the websites you visit and all keys you press.
If you do - I will send this ugly recording to everyone you know,
including your family.

Don't cheat me! Don't forget the shame and if you ignore this message your
life will be ruined.

I am waiting for your Bitcoin payment.

If you need more time to buy and send 0.564502 BTC,
open your notepad and write '48h plz'.
I will consider giving you another 48 hours before I release the vid.

Anonymous Hacker

Instant automatic removal of possible malware infections: Manual threat removal might be a lengthy and complicated process that requires advanced computer skills. Spyhunter is a professional automatic malware removal tool that is recommended to get rid of possible malware infections. Download it by clicking the button below:
▼ DOWNLOAD Spyhunter By downloading any software listed on this website you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. Free scanner checks if your computer is infected. To remove malware, you have to purchase the full version of Spyhunter.

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How to remove malware manually?

Manual malware removal is a complicated task - usually it is best to allow antivirus or anti-malware programs to do this automatically. To remove this malware we recommend using Spyhunter for Windows. If you wish to remove malware manually, the first step is to identify the name of the malware that you are trying to remove. Here is an example of a suspicious program running on a user's computer:

malicious process running on user's computer sample

If you checked the list of programs running on your computer, for example, using task manager, and identified a program that looks suspicious, you should continue with these steps:

manual malware removal step 1 Download a program called Autoruns. This program shows auto-start applications, Registry, and file system locations:

screenshot of autoruns application

manual malware removal step 2Restart your computer into Safe Mode:

Windows XP and Windows 7 users: Start your computer in Safe Mode. Click Start, click Shut Down, click Restart, click OK. During your computer start process, press the F8 key on your keyboard multiple times until you see the Windows Advanced Option menu, and then select Safe Mode with Networking from the list.

Safe Mode with Networking

Video showing how to start Windows 7 in "Safe Mode with Networking":

Windows 8 users: Start Windows 8 is Safe Mode with Networking - Go to Windows 8 Start Screen, type Advanced, in the search results select Settings. Click Advanced startup options, in the opened "General PC Settings" window, select Advanced startup. Click the "Restart now" button. Your computer will now restart into the "Advanced Startup options menu". Click the "Troubleshoot" button, and then click the "Advanced options" button. In the advanced option screen, click "Startup settings". Click the "Restart" button. Your PC will restart into the Startup Settings screen. Press F5 to boot in Safe Mode with Networking.

Windows 8 Safe Mode with networking

Video showing how to start Windows 8 in "Safe Mode with Networking":

Windows 10 users: Click the Windows logo and select the Power icon. In the opened menu click "Restart" while holding "Shift" button on your keyboard. In the "choose an option" window click on the "Troubleshoot", next select "Advanced options". In the advanced options menu select "Startup Settings" and click on the "Restart" button. In the following window you should click the "F5" button on your keyboard. This will restart your operating system in safe mode with networking.

windows 10 safe mode with networking

Video showing how to start Windows 10 in "Safe Mode with Networking":

 

manual malware removal step 3Extract the downloaded archive and run the Autoruns.exe file.

extract autoruns.zip and run autoruns.exe

manual malware removal step 4In the Autoruns application, click "Options" at the top and uncheck the "Hide Empty Locations" and "Hide Windows Entries" options. After this procedure, click the "Refresh" icon.

Click 'Options' at the top and uncheck 'Hide Empty Locations' and 'Hide Windows Entries' options

manual malware removal step 5Check the list provided by the Autoruns application and locate the malware file that you want to eliminate.

You should write down its full path and name. Note that some malware hides process names under legitimate Windows process names. At this stage, it is very important to avoid removing system files. After you locate the suspicious program you wish to remove, right click your mouse over its name and choose "Delete".

locate the malware file you want to remove

After removing the malware through the Autoruns application (this ensures that the malware will not run automatically on the next system startup), you should search for the malware name on your computer. Be sure to enable hidden files and folders before proceeding. If you find the filename of the malware, be sure to remove it.

searching for malware file on your computer

Reboot your computer in normal mode. Following these steps should remove any malware from your computer. Note that manual threat removal requires advanced computer skills. If you do not have these skills, leave malware removal to antivirus and anti-malware programs. These steps might not work with advanced malware infections. As always it is best to prevent infection than try to remove malware later. To keep your computer safe, install the latest operating system updates and use antivirus software.

To be sure your computer is free of malware infections, we recommend scanning it with Spyhunter for Windows.

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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Malware activity

Global virus and spyware activity level today:

Medium threat activity
Medium

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

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