Cameras And A Mic Start Recording Email Scam

Also Known As: Cameras And A Mic Start Recording spam
Damage level: Medium

What is "Cameras and a mic start recording"?

Scammers use the "Cameras and a mic start recording" spam campaign/scam to trick people into transferring cryptocurrency funds to them. They claim that they have recorded a compromising video of the recipient and threaten to share it with other people unless their demands are met. This spam campaign is a typical sextortion scam that should not be trusted.

Cameras and a mic start recording spam campaign

This email states that the recipient visited a pornography website, which was infiltrated with a malicious program. This apparently allowed enabled a cyber criminal to record a video of the recipient watching adult material. According to the email, this happened when the recipient clicked the play button, which was designed to enable the computer camera and microphone.

It goes on to state that the aforementioned malicious program also recorded contacts and passwords. The compromising video will be sent to all contacts after four days unless $580 is sent to the Bitcoin wallet address provided. Many people receive similar emails each day. Unfortunately, some people still take these emails seriously. All received emails of this kind should be ignored.

Threat Summary:
Name Cameras and a Mic Start Recording Email Scam
Threat Type Phishing, Scam, Social Engineering, Fraud
Fake Claim Criminals claim that they have obtained an embarrassing video of the recipient "masturbating", and threaten to send it to all of the recipient's friends unless a ransom is paid.
Cyber Criminal Cryptowallet Address 1DzVuLC7AjAjsjePJ3BnArY2Hn7io1jnPP (Bitcoin) - the wallet address might vary depending on the scam variant.
Size Of Ransom
$580 - the cost may vary depending on the scam variant.
Symptoms Unauthorized online purchases, changed online account passwords, identity theft, illegal access of the 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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Most of these scams are very similar. Other examples include "Placed a malware on the xxx streaming site", "This account was recently infected", and "Hey. It's me! Your future friend or enemy". Scammers behind these scams claim to have obtained humiliating material that they threaten to proliferate unless recipients send cryptocurrency payments.

Some spam campaigns, however, contain attachments designed to proliferate malicious programs. If opened, they infect computers with high-risk malware such as LokiBot, Hancitor, Emotet, AZORult, or some other program designed to steal personal details (various logins, passwords), proliferate other infections, or cause other damage.

These programs often cause financial loss, privacy issues, and so on for the victims. Cyber criminals attach JavaScript, executable or ZIP, RAR files or PDF, Microsoft Office documents, or they include web links that, if clicked, lead to such files.

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?

Emails sent by cyber criminals can cause damage (download/installation of malware) only if people open files that are attached to them, or if they click links that lead to these files. For example, if the attached file is a Microsoft Office document, once opened, it will demand permission to disable "Protected View" mode.

In effect, to enable macros commands. If such permission is given, a malicious file will start downloading and then installing malicious software. Other file formats operate in a similar manner, but they must be opened first. Leaving them unopened will prevent any harm being done.

How to avoid installation of malware?

Do not open or trust irrelevant emails that contain attachments or web links. These are usually presented as legitimate, but are sent from unknown, suspicious addresses. Furthermore, keep installed software up-to-date, however, this should be achieved using implemented, official tools provided by software developers.

Download software using official and trustworthy websites and direct download links. Do not use third party downloaders, Peer-to-Peer networks such as torrent clients, eMule, etc., unofficial pages, or other similar channels. Software 'cracking' tools that supposedly bypass paid activation should never be used.

They are illegal and often cause unwanted download/installation of malware. Additionally, use an MS Office version that has "Protected View" mode - this will prevent malicious documents from downloading/installing viruses. Have reputable anti-virus or anti-spyware software installed and keep it enabled at all times.

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 "Cameras and a mic start recording" email message:

Hi there... .

This won't acquire too much of time, and so right to the issue. I acquired a movie of you test-firing the old meat missle while at the pornpage you are been to, thanks to a good *** program I've managed to put on a few sites with that type of content material.

You click play button and all the cameras and a mic start recording furthermore, it will save every ******* detail coming from your personal computer, like contacts, security passwords or **** such as that, guess just where i have this e mail from?) So now we all know who my goal is to send out this to, in case you not necessarily planning to negotiate this along with me.

I'll place a wallet address below so that you can throw me 580 bucks within 4 dayz utmost via btc. See, it is not that large of a value to cover, guess this can make me not that terrible of a person.

You are allowed to complete whatever da **** you would like to, yet if i will not see the amount within the time period mentioned above, clearly... u by now understand what will occur.

Thus it is your responsibility right now. Now i'm not gonna proceed through every detail and ****, simply don't have precious time for this and also you possibly know that web is loaded with text letters such as this, therefore it is also your choice to trust in this not really, there may be only one way to discover.

Here is my bitcoin address- 1DzVuLC7AjAjsjePJ3BnArY2Hn7io1jnPP

Have a great time and keep in mind that wall clock is ticking

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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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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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