What is "Your device was infected with my private malware"?
"Your device was infected with my private malware" is the name of a spam campaign, a scam that criminals use to trick people into paying a ransom. They threaten to share a non-existent video with other parties unless they receive a specific sum within 72 hours.
Never trust these emails. If you receive "Your device was infected with my private malware" or other similar emails, you should ignore them.
"Your device was infected with my private malware" email scam overview
The person behind this scam is supposedly a hacker and programmer. The criminal claims to have gained access to the recipient's email account via hacking. It is also claimed that the recipient's device was infected with malware, which gave access to all accounts and allowed control of the operating system remotely.
Private data was allegedly stolen and the computer webcam used to record some videos. According to the scammer, these videos were recorded whilst the recipient was "satisfying himself". A threat is made to send these videos to the recipient's contacts, share them on darknet, social networks, and so on.
To avoid this, recipients are asked to pay $726 in Bitcoins (other variants of this spam campaign ask for payment in Dash or Monero cryptocurrencies). It is stated that the money must be transferred within 72 hours of receiving the email and that the transaction be made to the BTC wallet address provided.
As mentioned, this is merely a scam, and none of the claims should be taken seriously. Unfortunately, some people are not aware of these scams and fall for them.
We receive a great deal of feedback from concerned users about this type of email scam. Here is the most popular question we receive (in this case, relating to a scam that claims to have obtained compromising videos or photos of the user):
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.
|Name||Your device was infected with my private malware.|
|Threat Type||Phishing, Scam, Social Engineering, Fraud|
|Fake Claim||Scammer claims that the computer has been infected with malware, which allowed the recording of compromising videos. The scammer threatens to share the videos with other parties unless a ransom is paid within a specific time-frame.|
|Ransom Size||$726/$1200 in Bitcoins (the ransom varies depending on the campaign variant).|
|Cyber Criminal Cryptowallet Address||14LYbckmC9gKJ6LR1JAWaKSsCojZfURbzH (Bitcoin), 1DKeRSqnY24m6qEBLshJtshhcMjhMmfYot (Bitcoin)|
|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)||
To eliminate possible malware infections, scan your computer with legitimate antivirus software. Our security researchers recommend using Combo Cleaner.
Sextortion spam campaign examples
More examples of similar scams are "ChaosCC hacker group", "The last time you visited a Porn website", and "Hacker who has access to your operating system". Criminals behind these scams might make different claims, however, all use them to extort money from unsuspecting people.
Unfortunately, many scammers use similar emails to infect computers with malicious programs. They attach malicious files and hope that recipients open them. If opened, these files install malware such as TrickBot, Hancitor, Emotet, FormBook, and other high-risk malicious software.
How do spam campaigns infect computers?
Once opened, they lead to download/installation of malware. For example, MS Office documents, which, if opened, demand users' permission to enable macros commands (i.e., to enable editing). If such permission is given, a malicious document installs high-risk malware (for example, ransomware).
In summary, computers are safe from damage caused through rogue emails as long as any attached files (or web links) remain unopened.
How to avoid installation of malware
Study all emails received from unknown, suspicious addresses, especially if they contain web links or attachments. If you believe an email should not be trusted, the best option is to leave attached files or presented links unopened.
Download software from official websites and use direct download links. Peer-to-Peer networks such as torrent clients, eMule, unofficial websites, third party downloaders, and other tools of this kind should not be trusted. Installed software should be updated software through tools or functions provided by official software developers.
Note that software 'cracking' tools, which supposedly bypass paid activation of programs, are illegal and often cause installation of malware. Use MS Office versions later than 2010. These have "Protected View" mode, which prevents malicious files from installing malware.
Computers should be scanned for viruses regularly using reputable anti-virus or anti-spyware programs. 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 "Your device was infected with my private malware" email message:
Hi, I'm a hacker and programmer, I got access to your account -
Your device was infected with my private malware, because your browser wasn't updated / patched,
in such case it's enough to just visit some website where my iframe is placed to get automatically infected, if you want to find out more - Google: "Drive-by exploitH".
My malware gave me full access to all your accounts, full control over your OS and it was possible for me to spy on you over your webcam.
I collected all your private data, recorded few videos of you (through your webcam) and I RECORDED YOU SATISFYING YOURSELF!!!
I can publish all your private data everywhere, including the darknet, where the very sick people are and the videos of you,
send them to your contacts, post them on social network and everywhere else!
Only you can prevent me from doing this and only I can help you out, there are no traces left,
as I removed my malware after my job was done and this email(s) has been sent from some hacked server...
The only way to stop me, is to pay exactly 726$ in bitcoin (BTC).
It's a very good offer, compared to all that HORRIBLE **** that will happen if you don't pay!
You can easily buy bitcoin on the next services: paxful, coinbase or check for bitcoin ATM near you, or Google for other exchanger.
You can send the bitcoin directly to my wallet, or create your own wallet first here: blockchain com, then receive and send to mine.
My bitcoin wallet is: 14LYbckmC9gKJ6LR1JAWaKSsCojZfURbzH, 1MYJjmYScwmFfthAQNXWb5fhNMRVcAiZd, 1LfYcbCsssB2niF3VWRBTVZFExzsweyPGQ
Copy and paste it, it's (cAsE-sEnSEtiVE)
You got 72 hours time.
As I got access to this email account, I will know if this email has been read.
If you get this email multiple times, it's to make sure that you read it, my mailer script is configured like this and after payment you can ignore it.
Please do not reply to this email. The sender's address is automatically generated to ensure that this email is received.
After receiving the payment, I remove all your data and you can life your live in peace like before.
Next time update your browser before browsing the web!
Another variant of "Your Device Was Infected With My Private Malware" spam email campaign:
Text presented within this email:
Subject: You got recorded - ******
Hey, I know your password is: ******
Your computer was infected with my malware, RAT (Remote Administration Tool), your browser wasn't updated / patched, in such case it's enough to just visit some website where my iframe is placed to get automatically infected, if you want to find out more - Google: "Drive-by exploit".
My malware gave me full access and control over your computer, meaning, I got access to all your accounts (see password above) and I can see everything on your screen, turn on your camera or microphone and you won't even notice about it.
I collected all your private data and I was spying on you, I RECORDED (through your webcam) embarrassing moments of you, you know what I mean!
After that I removed my malware to not leave any traces.
I can publish all your private data everywhere and I can send the videos to all your contacts, post it on social network, publish it on the whole web, including the darknet, where the sick people are!
Only you can prevent me from doing this and only I can help you out in this situation.
Transfer exactly 1200$ with the current bitcoin (BTC) price to my bitcoin address.
It's a very good offer, compared to all that horrible **** that will happen if I publish everything!
You can easily buy bitcoin here: www.paxful.com, www.coingate.com, www.coinbase.com, or check for bitcoin ATM near you, or Google for other exchanger.
You can send the bitcoin directly to my address, or create your own wallet first here: www.login.blockchain.com/en/#/signup/, then receive and send to mine.
My bitcoin address is: 1DKeRSqnY24m6qEBLshJtshhcMjhMmfYot
Copy and paste my address, it's (cAsE-sEnSEtiVE)
I give you 3 days time to transfer the bitcoin!
As I got access to this email account, I will know if this email has already been read.
If you get this email multiple times, it's to make sure you read it and after payment you can ignore it.
After receiving the payment, I will remove everything and you can life your live in peace like before.
Next time update your browser before browsing the web!
Instant automatic malware removal:
Manual threat removal might be a lengthy and complicated process that requires advanced computer skills. Combo Cleaner is a professional automatic malware removal tool that is recommended to get rid of malware. Download it by clicking the button below:
- What is "Your Device Was Infected With My Private Malware" spam?
- Types of malicious emails.
- How to spot a malicious email?
- What to do if you fell for an email scam?
Types of malicious 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.
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.
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:
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.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Why did I receive this email?
Spam emails are not personal. Cyber criminals distribute these letters in large-scale campaigns with the hopes that at least some recipients will fall for the scams.
Was my computer actually hacked and does the sender have any information?
No, all the claims made by this email are false. Your device was not compromised by the sender, nor do they have any compromising content featuring you.
How did cyber criminals get my email password?
There are several possibilities. The most likely one is that at some point, you fell victim to a phishing scam; it could have been a spam email promoting a website or file disguised as an email account sign-in page, registration/subscription form, or similar. It is unlikely but possible that your email was obtained due to a data breach.
I have sent cryptocurrency to the address presented in this email, can I get my money back?
Cryptocurrency transactions are practically untraceable – hence, they are irreversible.
I have provided my personal information when tricked by a spam email, what should I do?
If you have disclosed log-in credentials – change the passwords of all potentially exposed accounts and inform their official support. And if you've provided other private information (e.g., ID card details, credit card numbers, etc.) – immediately contact the appropriate authorities.
I have read a spam email but didn't open the attachment, is my computer infected?
No, merely reading an email will not initiate any malware download/installation processes. Systems are infected when the attachments or links present in spam mail are opened/clicked.
I have downloaded and opened a file attached to a spam email, is my computer infected?
If it was an executable (.exe, .run, etc.) – most likely, yes – your device was infected. On the other hand, documents (.doc, .xls, etc.) may need additional user interaction (e.g., enabling macro commands) to start downloading/installing malware.
Will Combo Cleaner remove malware infections present in email attachments?
Yes, Combo Cleaner is capable of detecting and eliminating nearly all known malware infections. It must be mentioned that since sophisticated malicious software usually hides deep within systems – running a complete system scan is paramount.