Prevent getting scammed by WannaCry hacker group email scam

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

"WannaCry hacker group Email Scam" removal guide

What is "WannaCry hacker group Email Scam"?

"WannaCry hacker group Email Scam", as its name suggests - is an email scam. It uses a type of blackmail called "sextortion", which extorts money by threatening to reveal evidence of sexual activity. In this particular case, it claims that the evidence was obtained through the user's webcam. It states that this footage will be spread, if in a given period of time a certain amount of money will not be transferred to the account provided. It should be stressed, that none of these claims are true and cyber criminals behind this scam do no have any compromising material. All emails of this kind should be ignored.

WannaCry hacker group email scam spam campaign

The email, titled "Keep your secrets safe!", declares that it is from a representative of the WannaCry hacker group, and that they have hacked the recipient's OS (operating system) and email account. They supposedly have done so by hacking one of the email service provider's servers and consequently gained access to the user's account. Through it, they allege to have infected the victim's OS. By doing so they have gathered the details of all the user's contacts (e.g. family and distant relatives, friends, colleagues, etc.) and threaten to send them explicit evidence of the recipient's sexual activity. Said compromising material is supposed to be footage, autonomously recorded by the device's webcam, when the user visited adult websites (e.g. when pornographic content was viewed). They further proclaim that if $550 worth in Bitcoin cryptocurrency is not transferred to them within 60 hours, they will send the video evidence to all the recipient's email and messenger contacts. Should that be done, the alleged footage will be destroyed. However it should be emphasized, that all these threats are false and the scammers behind this email have no compromising content. Additionally, no infections they say to have spread are actually present on the victim's device (that is not to say, that there aren't any hazards, just none form the "WannaCry hacker group email scam"). Emails like this should never be trusted, it is recommended to simply ignore them.

Threat Summary:
Name "WannaCry hacker group" email spam campaign
Threat Type Phishing, Scam, Social Engineering, Fraud
Fake Claim Crooks claim that they've infected recipient's computer with a remote access tool (RAT) and stolen all victim's contacts. Additionally, they claim to have recorded user watching adult content and "pleasuring himself". In order to stop crooks from sending the record to the aforementioned contacts each recipient has to pay $550 using Bitcoin cryptocurrency.
Ransom Size $550
Cyber Criminal Cryptowallet Address 18JbdkskQSNFP9DrcCp9txLMFJCyPwEPXg (Bitcoin), 12byutpYf1xpH8fR4qBj4833x2t94rSr8X (Bitcoin)
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

To eliminate possible malware infections our malware researchers recommend scanning your computer with Spyhunter.
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Email scams are distributed by the thousand and they are often spread through massive scale spam campaigns. Extortion and ransom demands are not the only types out there. The context varies from blackmail attempts, various "important" alerts to "prize" announcement and hundreds of others. Some scams similar to "WannaCry hacker group email scam" are "This is important information for you", "The last time you visited a Porn website", "Looked at you for several months" and "So I'm the hacker who broke your email". Usually, sextortion scams claim to have some sort of compromising and humiliating videos or screenshots/photos of the victim - which will be released if a certain sum is not paid. They typically ask for currency that is hard to trace, for example cryptocurrency, prepaid vouchers and similar. However email scam objectives also differ. One of them can be the proliferation of malicious content, through various email attachments. Examples of malware (malicious software) furthered through such include: TrickBotFormBookPonyLokiBot and many others.

How do spam campaigns infect computers?

Email spam campaigns can cause system infections only through file attachments (or website links, which lead to such). Said attachments can be in a wide variety of formats, e.g. archive files (ZIP, RAR, etc.), executable files (.exe, .run, etc.), Microsoft Office or PDF documents, JavaScript and so on. These attached files have to be opened in order to infect systems. For example, MS office documents ask users to enable macro commands (to enable editing); if allowed, then the file can make downloads/installs of malware.

How to avoid installation of malware?

It is strongly advised to never open/download/install attached files or follow web links in emails, sent from unknown and dubious addresses. As a rule, untrustworthy and suspicious emails should not be opened. Typically, these pretend to be urgent and important, whether by making criminal threats or by wearing the guise of official sources. Regardless of their appearances, unknown and irrelevant emails should not be trusted. It is highly recommended to use Microsoft Office versions released after year 2010. Said versions have "Protected View" mode that stops infectious documents from downloading/installing malicious software. To ensure device integrity and user safety, all received emails and the attachments/links therein should be treated with caution. To prevent downloading malignant content, users should always use official and verified download sources. It is ill-advised to use peer-to-peer sharing networks and other third party downloaders. Software 'cracking' tools are against recommendations as well; they are illegal and can often lead to installation of malware. Users should be attentive when installing and updating software, to make sure that there is no foul play involved. Legitimate and dependable antivirus and/or anti-spyware programs are advised for additional system protection. Said software should be used to perform regular scans and kept up-to-date. 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 "WannaCry hacker group email scam" email letter:

Subject: Keep your secrets safe!

Hello!

I am a representative of the WannaCry hacker group.
In the period from 24/06/2019 to 11/09/2019 we got access to your account ******** by hacking one of the ******* mail servers.

You already changed the password?
Sumptuously! But my program fixes this every time. And every time I know your new password!

Using access to your account, it turned out to be easy to infect the OS of your device.

At the moment, all your contacts are known to us. We also have access to your messengers and to your correspondence.
All this information is already stored with us.

We are also aware of your intimate adventures on the Internet.
We know that you adore adult sites and we know about your sexual addictions.
You have a very interesting and special taste (you understand what I mean).

While browsing these sites, your device's camera automatically turns on.
Video-record you and what you watch is being save.
After that, the video clip is automatically saved on our server.

At the moment, several analogy video records have been collected.
From the moment you read this letter, after 60 hours, all your contacts on this email box and in your instant messengers will receive these clips and files with your correspondence.

If you do not want this, transfer 550$ to our Bitcoin cryptocurrency wallet: 18JbdkskQSNFP9DrcCp9txLMFJCyPwEPXg, 12byutpYf1xpH8fR4qBj4833x2t94rSr8X
I guarantee that we will then destroy all your secrets!

As soon as the money is in our account - your data will be immediately destroyed!
If no money arrives, files with video and correspondence will be sent to all your contacts.

You decide... Pay or live in hell out of shame...

We believe that this whole story will teach you how to use gadgets properly!
Everyone loves adult sites, you're just out of luck.
For the future - just cover a sticker your device's camera when you visit adult sites!

Take care of yourself!

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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