How to avoid the Sextortion Email (Monero) scam

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 sent to trick people into paying criminals. Scammers seek to trick recipients into believing that they have recorded a humiliating video, which they will proliferate on the internet unless a specific sum of Monero cryptocurrency is paid. There are many similar scams online, none of which should be trusted. If you receive these fraudulent emails, simply ignore and delete them.

Sextortion Email (Monero) spam campaign

The scammer behind this email claims that the recipient's computer is infected with a remote administration tool (RAT), which allowed access and control of the computer. The scammer was apparently able to access the desktop, camera, and microphone, which were used to record a video whilst the recipient was apparently watching an adult video. A threat is made to send the video to all of the recipient's contacts, post it on social networks, and publish it on the entire web, including the dark web. To prevent this, recipients are asked to pay $1000 in the Monero cryptocurrency. This must be done within two days and using the Monero (XMR) address provided. Do not fall for this scam, since all claims are false. The best option is to simply ignore this email, and do not trust any similar emails in 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 The scammer claims that the computer has been infected with a Remote Access Tool (RAT), which allowed recording of a humiliating video. A threat is made to share the video with other people unless payment is made within 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 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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There are many examples of other emails of this kind, including "Your device was infected with my private malware", "ChaosCC hacker group", and "The last time you visited a Porn website". Generally, scammers send them to trick people into paying to prevent distribution of humiliating photos or videos that do not exist. Unfortunately, emails/spam campaigns are also used to proliferate malicious software. Cyber criminals send many emails with files attached. If opened, the files install malware. Examples of high-risk malware distributed through emails (and other channels) include TrickBot, Hancitor, Emotet, and FormBook.

How do spam campaigns infect computers?

Malicious attachments are harmless unless they are opened. Therefore, computers are generally safe as long as recipients do not open files attached to emails sent by cyber criminals. Typically, they attach Microsoft Office or PDF documents, archives such as ZIP, RAR, executable files such as .exe, JavaScript files, and so on. If an attached file is a Microsoft Office document, when opened, it asks for permission to enable editing (macros commands). If permission is granted, malicious files infect the computer with high-risk malware. Remember, attached files can cause damage only when they are opened.

How to avoid installation of malware

Do not open files attached to irrelevant emails that are sent from unknown addresses. Check that it is safe to open files attached to emails. Download all files and programs from official websites, and do not trust other sources such as Peer-to-Peer networks, unofficial pages, third party downloaders, and so on. Installed programs should be updated through tools or functions designed by official developers. Activate licensed/paid installed software properly - do not use unofficial, third party tools that supposedly bypass paid activation, since this is illegal. Use Microsoft Office 2010 or later, since older versions do not include "Protected View" mode, which prevents malicious documents from installing malware. Systems should be scanned for viruses regularly using reputable anti-spyware or anti-virus tools. If you have already opened malicious attachments, we recommend running a scan with Malwarebytes for Windows to automatically eliminate infiltrated malware.

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

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 malware removal: Manual threat removal might be a lengthy and complicated process that requires advanced computer skills. Malwarebytes is a professional automatic malware removal tool that is recommended to get rid of malware. Download it by clicking the button below:
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How to remove malware manually?

Manual malware removal is a complicated task - it is usually best to allow antivirus or anti-malware programs to do this automatically. To remove this malware we recommend using Malwarebytes 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 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 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 Malwarebytes 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 malware activity level today:

Medium threat activity

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

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