How to avoid being scammed through Sextortion Email (Monero)?

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

"Sextortion Email (Monero)" removal guide

What is "Sextortion Email (Monero)" scam?

"Sextortion Email (Monero)" is the name of a scam which scammers send with a purpose to trick people into paying them money. Scammers seek to trick recipients into believing that they have recorded a humiliating video which they will spread on the Internet if they will not receive a particular amount of Monero cryptocurrency. There are many similar scams, none of them should be trusted. People who receive such fraudulent emails should ignore and delete them.

Sextortion Email (Monero) spam campaign

Scammer behind this email claims that recipient's computer is infected with a remote administration tool (RAT) that allowed him to access and control a computer. He claims that he was able to access user's desktop, camera, microphone and used them to record a video while a recipient was watching some adult video. He threatens to send that video to all recipient's contacts, post it on social networks, publish it on the whole web, including the dark web. To prevent this from happening, recipients are asked to pay $1000 in Monero cryptocurrency. It supposed to be done in two days and using the provided Monero (XMR) address. We strongly recommend not to fall for this scam, all claims in it are not true. The best option is to simply ignore this email and not to trust any other emails of this kind in the future.

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.

Threat Summary:
Name "Sextortion Email (Monero)" scam
Threat Type Phishing, Scam, Social Engineering, Fraud
Fake Claim Scammer claims that he has infected a computer with RAT which allowed him to record a humiliating video. He threatens to share it with other people if he will not be paid in two days.
Ransom Size $1000 in Monero cryptocurrency
Cyber Criminal Cryptowallet Address (Monero) 4BrL51JCc9NGQ71kWhnY oDRffsDZy7m1HUU7MRU4nUMXAHNFBEJhk TZV9HdaL4gfuNBxLPc3BeMkLG aPbF5vWtANQmhvbmBTJbpSXqZx82
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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There are many examples of other emails of this kind, some of them are "Your device was infected with my private malware", "ChaosCC hacker group" and "The last time you visited a Porn website". As a rule, scammers send them with an intention to trick people into paying them money for photos or videos that do not exist. Unfortunately, emails/spam campaigns can be used to spread malicious software too. Cyber criminals send emails with files attached to them that, if opened, install malware. Examples of high-risk malware that is distributed through emails (and other channels) are TrickBot, Hancitor, Emotet and FormBook.

How do spam campaigns infect computers?

Note, malicious attachments are harmless unless they are opened. In other words, computers are safe as long as recipients do not open files that are attached to emails sent by cyber criminals. Typically, they attach Microsoft Office or PDF documents, archives like ZIP, RAR, executable files like .exe, JavaScript files, and so on. If attached file is a Microsoft Office document, then, when opened, it asks for a permission to enable editing (macros commands). If permission to enable them is granted, then malicious files infects computer with one or another high-risk malware. One way or another, attached files can cause damage only when they are opened.

How to avoid installation of malware?

It is never a good idea to open files attached to irrelevant emails that are sent from unknown addresses. In other words, it is strongly recommended to be sure that is it safe to open a file attached to an email of this kind and only then open it. Another important thing is to download all files or programs from official websites and not to trust any other sources like Peer-to-Peer networks, unofficial pages, third party downloaders, and so on. Installed programs have to be updated through tools or functions that are designed by official developers. If installed software is not free, it should be activated properly. It means that unofficial, third party tools that supposed to bypass paid activation should not be used. Besides, it is not legal to use software of this type. Also, we recommend to use Microsoft Office 2010 or later, because older versions do not include "Protected View" mode which prevents malicious documents from installing malware. Systems should be scanned for viruses regularly, it should be done using reputable anti-spyware or anti-virus tools. If you've already opened malicious attachments, we recommend running a scan with Spyhunter for Windows to automatically eliminate infiltrated malware.

Text presented in the "Sextortion Email (Monero)" email letter:

Subject: You better pay - ********

 

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 RECORDED YOU (through your webcam) SATISFYING YOURSELF!

After that I removed my malware to not leave any traces.

I can send the video to all your contacts, post it on social network, publish it on the whole web, including the darknet, where the sick people are, I can publish all I found on your computer everywhere!

Only you can prevent me from doing this and only I can help you out in this situation.

Transfer exactly 1000$ with the cryptocurrency Monero (XMR) to my Monero (XMR) address.

You can easily buy Monero (XMR) here: www.anycoindirect.eu/en/buy-monero, www.bitnovo.com/buy-monero-online-en, www.localmonero.co, or Google for other exchanger.
You can send the Monero (XMR) directly to my address, or download and create your own wallet first from here: www.mymonero.com, or simply create your online wallet here: www.cryptonator.com, www.freewallet.org, then receive and send to mine.

It's a very good offer, compared to all that horrible **** that will happen if I publish everything!

My is: 4BrL51JCc9NGQ71kWhnY oDRffsDZy7m1HUU7MRU4nUMXAHNFBEJhk TZV9HdaL4gfuNBxLPc3BeMkLG aPbF5vWtANQmhvbmBTJbpSXqZx82

Copy and paste my address, it's (cAsE-sEnSEtiVE), yes that's how the address looks like and you don't need to include payment-id or memo.

I give you 2 days to transfer the Monero (XMR).

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, my mailer script has been configured like that 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 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's better to let antivirus or anti-malware programs do it 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's an example of a suspicious program running on 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 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 "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 Autoruns application and locate the malware file that you want to eliminate.

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

locate the malware file you want to remove

After removing the malware through Autoruns application (this ensures that the malware won't 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 file 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 help remove any malware from your computer. Note that manual threat removal requires advanced computer skills, it's recommended to leave malware removal to antivirus and anti-malware programs. These steps might not work with advanced malware infections. As always it's better to avoid getting infected that try to remove malware afterwards. To keep your computer safe be sure to install 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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