CVE-2019-1663 Email Scam

Also Known As: CVE-2019-1663 spam
Damage level: Medium

What is "CVE-2019-1663"?

"CVE-2019-1663" is the name of a 'sextortion' scam that is used to blackmail people by threatening to leak humiliating/compromising photos. To prevent this, recipients are encouraged to pay a specific amount in a cryptocurrency. There are many emails of this type online, none of which should be trusted. If received, they should be ignored and deleted.

CVE-2019-1663 spam campaign

The scammer behind this email states that he has infected the computer months ago and gained full access to an account (supposedly email). Whoever receives this email is informed that the scammer has hijacked a router and installed a trojan on the operating system.

This trojan allowed him to make a full backup of data stored on the computer, including browsing history, contacts, telephone numbers, and so on. He claims that he took screenshots of of pornography websites that were visited by the recipient, and also used the computer camera (webcam) to take photographs of the recipient watching/visiting those websites.

He makes threats to send these photos to all of the recipient's contacts, including friends, colleagues, and family. To keep this compromising material secret, the scammer demands payment of $722 in Bitcoins using a Bitcoin wallet address provided.

People have 48 hours to make the transaction, otherwise the person behind this email will apparently lock the computer and proliferate the screenshots. We strongly recommend that you do not make any payment. This email is simply a scam - cyber criminals who create these emails send them to many people and hope that at least some will take them seriously.

Threat Summary:
Name CVE-2019-1663 Email Scam
Threat Type Phishing, Scam, Social Engineering, Fraud
Fake Claim Criminals claim that they have injected a trojan into the computer and captured a video of the recipient masturbating. They also threaten to send the video to all of the recipient's contacts if the ransom is not paid.
Cyber Criminal Cryptowallet Address 15J1XZBGRcgQgE4HmTBzzKw6LDzazJRAiU (Bitcoin) - the wallet address might vary depending on the scam variant.
Size Of Ransom
$722 - the price might 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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Examples of similar scams include "Placed a malware on the xxx streaming site", "This account was recently infected", and "Hey. It's me! Your future friend or enemy". They might differ slightly, however, their main purpose remains identical: to extort money from unsuspecting people. Unfortunately, there is another scam campaign type in which emails contain attachments.

For example, Microsoft Office or PDF documents, JavaScript, executable files, archives such as ZIP, RAR, and so on. Cyber criminals behind these scams have another goal: to proliferate malicious programs. If opened, the attachments download and install high-risk infections such as LokiBot, TrickBot, Emotet, AZORult, Adwind, etc.

Programs of this type usually proliferate other malware and steal personal details such as logins, passwords, information relating to users' browsing habits, and so on. Having your computer infected with these programs might cause financial/data loss, issues with privacy, browsing safety, and so on.

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 haveibeenpwned website.

How do spam campaigns infect computers?

The emails can do damage only if the files attached to them (or web links presented in them) are opened, otherwise they are harmless. For example, archive files must be extracted and their contents executed, Microsoft Office documents must be opened and permissions to enable macros commands given, and so on. Other files cause damage in a very similar way.

How to avoid installation of malware?

Irrelevant emails received from unknown, dubious addresses should not be trusted, especially if they contain web links or attachments. Software should be downloaded using official and trustworthy sources/websites, and direct download links. Do not use tools such as Peer-to-Peer networks, unofficial pages and third party downloaders.

We strongly recommend that you update installed programs using functions or tools provided by official developers only. Other sources (unofficial software updaters) are often used to proliferate unwanted apps or even malware. The same applies to software 'cracking' tools - they are illegal and often cause download/installation of malicious programs.

Furthermore, Microsoft Office versions that are older than 2010 should not be used. Those versions are not capable of preventing users from installing malware. Newer versions have "Protected View" mode included, which prevents downloaded and opened files from downloading and installing computer infections.

Use reputable anti-virus or anti-spyware software and keep it enabled. 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 "CVE-2019-1663" email message:

Hello, friend!
This is important info for you!
Some months ago I hacked your computer and got full access to your account
On day of hack your profile has pass: *
So, you can change the pass, yes.. Or already changed... But my soft
intercepts it every time.
How I made it:
In the software of the router, through which you went online, was a vulnerability. I
used it...
If you interested you can read about it: CVE-2019-1663 - a vulnerability in the
web-based management interface of the Cisco routers.
I just hacked this router and placed my virus on it.
When you went online, my trojan was installed on the OS of your computer.
After that, I made a full backup of your pc (I have all your address book, history
of viewing sites, all files, phone numbers and addresses of all your contacts).
A month ago, I wanted to lock your PC and ask for a not big amount of btc to
But I looked at the web-pages that you regularly visit, and I was shocked by what I saw!!!
I'm talk you about web-history for adults.
I want to say - you are a BIG pervert. Your fantasy is shifted far away from the
normal course!
And I got an idea....
I made a screenshot of the adult web-page where you have fun (do you understand what it
is about, huh?))).
After that, I made a screenshot of your joys (using the camera of your computer) and
glued them together.
Turned out amazing! You are so spectacular!
I'm know that you would not like to show these screenshots to your friends,
relatives or colleagues.
I think $722 is a very, very small amount for our secret.
Besides, I have been spying on you for so long, having spent a lot of time!
Pay ONLY in bitcoins!
My btc wallet: 15J1XZBGRcgQgE4HmTBzzKw6LDzazJRAiU
You do not know how to use bitcoins?
Enter a query in any search sites: "how to replenish btc wallet".
It's extremely easy
For this payment I give you two days (48 hours).
As soon as this email is opened, the timer will work.
After payment, my malware and dirty screenshots with your enjoys will be self-destruct
If I do not receive from you the specified amount, then your device will be locked,
and all your contacts will receive a screenshots with your "enjoys".
I hope you understand your situation.
- Do not try to find and destroy my malicious code! (All your data, files and screenshots is
already uploaded to a remote server)
- Do not try to contact me (you yourself will see that this is impossible, the
sender address is automatically generated)
- Various security services will not help you; formatting a disk or destroying a
device will not help, since your data is already on a remote server.
P.S. You are not my single victim. so, I guarantee you that I will not disturb you
again after payment!
This is the word of honor hacker
Do not hold evil! I just good do my job.
Good luck.

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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.

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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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