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Avoid being scammed by the Jeanson J. Ancheta sextortion spam campaign

Also Known As: Jeanson J. Ancheta Sextortion spam
Damage level: Medium

What is the "Jeanson J. Ancheta" email scam?

Criminals send this email to many people hoping that some will fall for the scam and make payments. There are many scams of this type online. Typically, scammers claim that they have recorded a humiliating/compromising video and threaten to proliferate it unless their ransom demands are met on time.

There are more variants of this scam, however, the main differences are ransom amount and Bitcoin wallet address used to make payment. In any case, we strongly recommend that you do not trust this or other email scams.

Jeanson J. Ancheta spam campaign

According to the scammer behind this spam campaign, malicious code was injected into the recipient's computer and used to monitor computing activity. Note that the sender claims to be Jeason James Ancheta, a notorious cyber criminal known for being the first person to be charged for controlling large numbers of hijacked computers/botnets back in 2006.

In fact, this claim is probably false and used only in an attempt to scare victims. The scammer claims that the webcam was accessed and used to record a compromising video of the recipient whilst apparently visiting a "dirty" website (presumably, an adult web page).

The scammer also claims to have stolen all contacts together with other information and threatens to send the video to all of the recipient's contacts, unless $650 is paid within 36 hours. Payment in Bitcoins is stipulated using the wallet address provided. In different versions of this scam, criminals might demand different ransom amounts.

You should ignore this email. The same applies to other emails of this type that might be received 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 "Jeanson James Ancheta" Sextortion Email Scam.
Threat Type Phishing, Scam, Social Engineering, Fraud.
Fake Claim Scammer claims that the computer was infected with malware, which allowed the recording of a compromising/humiliating video.
Ransom Size $650, $750 (depends on scam variant).
Cyber Criminal Cryptowallet Address 13z8jRK5z9PkVdim6nfmH4Qqqk6UAmycJr, 1NJAqyvy8zJYrnD2x9kox1BqYgfu7Zpdrz, 1GNcC3NHp2DPsEsjwvosk2tjEGmHNNX5ow, 18i5utJSShwVTGdtSrmi2M3XpyRBfnpdPw
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 other emails of this type include "I Do Know Your Passwords", "I know you are a pedophile", and "ChaosCC hacker group". Generally, scammers who send these emails seek to trick recipients into believing that they have recorded a compromising video or taken humiliating photos.

They threaten to distribute them unless they are paid. These emails are also used to proliferate malware. Cyber criminals attach files to the emails, which, if opened, infect computers with high-risk malware including TrickBot, LokiBot, Emotet, FormBook, and so on.

How do spam campaigns infect computers?

To infect the computer through an email, recipients must first open the attached file, or open a web link that leads to download of a malicious file. Typically, cyber criminals attach Microsoft Office or PDF documents, JavaScript or executable files (.exe), archive files such as ZIP, RAR, and so on.

To trick recipients into opening the attachment, they usually present their emails as official, important, etc. An attached Microsoft Office document can install malware as follows: when opened, it will demand permission to enable macros commands (to enable editing).

When a malicious document receives this permission, it starts installing malicious software. In any case, none of the attachments can damage computers/systems if recipients leave them unopened.

How to avoid installation of malware

Files that are attached to irrelevant emails and are sent from suspicious, unknown addresses should not be opened. All files and programs should be downloaded from official websites and via direct download links.

Do not download from dubious, unofficial web pages, through Peer-to-Peer networks (torrent clients, eMule, etc.), third party downloaders, or other channels/tools of this kind. Keep installed programs up-to-date, however, the only safe way to achieve this is to use tools and functions designed by official developers.

Use newer versions of Microsoft Office (2010 or later), since they include "Protected View" mode, which prevents downloaded malicious documents from installing malware. Installed programs should not be activated using unofficial ('cracking') tools - this is illegal and often leads to computer infection with high-risk malware.

Have a reputable anti-virus or anti-spyware suite installed and periodically scan the operating system for threats. 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 "Jeanson J. Ancheta" email message:

Subject: My name is Jeanson James Ancheta, AKA ancheta-2yo on darkweb!

 

I am the best hacker.

Around 10 months ago, I hacked this email address. You can check it.

I am sending this email from your email address now, I injected my code to this device and I started to monitor your activity. My first idea was to block and encyript your files. And than I would ask for a small fee to release them back. But than one day, You visited some dirty websites.

You kow what I mean naughty thing. And I silently activated your front camera and recorded you.

Now, I stole contact list of yourself. I have all the friends list.

A lot of information is downloaded to my system.

I am asking from you a small fee of 650 USD.
If you don’t pay, all the naughty screen videos will be sent to your friends and family. I will distribute them to everywhere.

Send the amount to my bitcoin address: 13z8jRK5z9PkVdim6nfmH4Qqqk6UAmycJr, 1QCr5f8acs99UMXQeKjXfN8tR6fFaZNhx7
I give you 36 hours to complete the transfer.

When you open that message, I will know it and the countdown starts.

Another variant of Jeanson J. Ancheta spam email:

Second variant of Jeanson J. Ancheta spam email

Text presented within this email:

Subject: [recipient's_email_address] address was stolen

 

Hello my dear,
My name is Jeansoon J. Ancheta. Also known as J2Ancheta on the dark web.
I am an experienced software developer and I am the best data hacker.
Eleven months ago, I hacked this email address. You can check it. I am sending this email from your own email address now. ([recipient's_email_address])
I injected my code to this device and I started to monitor your activity. My first idea was to block and encrypt your files. And than I would ask for a small fee to release them back. But than one day, You visited some dirty websites. You know what I mean naughty thing. And I silently activated your front camera and recorded You. Yes! You were playing with yourself. What a funny video.
Now, I have the contact list of yourself. I have all your friends lists. A lot of information was downloaded to my system.
I am asking from you a small fee of 740 USD. If you don't pay, all the naughty screen videos will be sent to your friends and family.
I will distribute them to everywhere. I spent a lot of time monitoring you. This is the cost of my time.
I promise that I will delete these files as soon as I receive the payment. I don't need it.
Send the amount to my bitcoin address:
1GNcC3NHp2DPsEsjwvosk2tjEGmHNNX5ow
I give you 36 hours to complete the transfer. When you open that message, I will know it and the countdown starts.
Be smart, do not ignore me! Do not click on every link you see. Always use stronger passwords on the internet. Never trust anybody!
Good Luck
Your time has already started...

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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.

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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