Do not trust "We Have Hacked Your Website" email scam

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

"We Have Hacked Your Website" email scam removal guide

What is the "We Have Hacked Your Website" email?

"We Have Hacked Your Website" is a scam email, claiming that the website of the recipient's company has been hacked. The scammers state that they have extracted the databases and will leak them, if a certain sum is not paid within the given time. It must be emphasized that this letter is a scheme and none of the information provided in it is true. Therefore, it is recommended to simply ignore the "We Have Hacked Your Website" email.

We Have Hacked Your Website Email Scam email spam campaign

The emails states that the recipient's company's website has been supposedly hacked and the databases have been exfiltrated to an offshore server. The letter instructs to forward this email to someone, who can has the authority to make important decisions within the company. Because if the listed demands are not met, the email claims that the company's reputation will be damaged irreparably. Unless a ransom of 1500 USD in Bitcoin cryptocurrency is paid within five days, the nonexistent information will be sold to the highest bidder. Additionally, if the data contains any saved emails of customers/associates, they will be notified of the leak. The site will also be de-indexed, which means that its indexes will be removed from search engines and will not come up in any queries. The letter states that the ransom is non-negotiable and recipients should not even try responding, as they will not receive a reply. To summarize, the "We Have Hacked Your Website" email is a scam and none of the threats it makes can actually be carried-out by the scammers. These individuals have not compromised any websites the recipients are associated with, nor have they stolen vulnerable information from them. Therefore, it is expressly advised against trusting this letter and/or meeting its demands.

Threat Summary:
Name We Have Hacked Your Website Email Scam
Threat Type Phishing, Scam, Social Engineering, Fraud
Fake Claim Email claims recipient's company's website has been hacked and its databases have been extracted.
Ransom Amount $1500 in Bitcoin cryptocurrency
Cyber Criminal Cryptowallet Address 1JToMSCtc4nW3fNDUL4xV9QYqmyKJEYMdj (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)

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Deceptive/Scam emails are sent by the thousand during large scale operations - called "spam campaigns". "Infect Your Family With CoronaVirus", "Microsoft Email Scam", "I infected your computer with my private trojan" and "RedCross Email Scam" are a few examples of such campaigns. The letters are usually presented as "important", "urgent", "priority", "official" and similar. The emails can even be disguised as mail from legitimate organizations, institutions, companies, service providers, etc. These letters use social engineering and scare tactics to trick recipients into performing certain actions. For example, making monetary transactions (e.g. paying ransoms, fake fees and bills, etc.), revealing personal information (e.g. names, addresses, telephone numbers, emails, banking account and/or credit card details, etc.), opening infectious files and so on. Regardless of what claims, requests or threats these emails make, their purpose is the same - to generate revenue for the scammers / cyber criminals behind them.

How do spam campaigns infect computers?

Systems are infected through virulent files sent during spam campaigns. These files are attached to or linked inside deceptive/scam emails. Malicious files can be in a variety of formats, e.g. Microsoft Office or PDF documents, archive (RAR, ZIP, etc.) and executable (.exe, .run, etc.) files, JavaScript, etc. When they are executed, run or otherwise opened - the infection process is jumpstarted. In other words, upon being opened they begin downloading/installing malware. For example, Microsoft Office documents initiate such processes by executing malicious macro commands. Once opened, MS Office documents requests users to enable macro commands (i.e. to enable editing), doing so on infectious docs leads to an infection.

How to avoid installation of malware?

It is highly recommended not to open suspicious and/or irrelevant emails, especially ones received from suspect/unknown senders. Any attachments or links found in dubious letters must not be opened - as that can result in a high-risk system infection. Additionally, it is important to use Microsoft Office versions released after 2010. The newer versions have "Protected View" mode, which prevents infection processes from being triggered when a malicious document is opened. Aside from spam campaigns, malware is also distributed using untrustworthy download channels (unofficial and free file-hosting websites, Peer-to-Peer sharing networks and other third party downloaders), illegal activation tools ("cracks") and fake updaters. Therefore, it is advised to use only use official/verified download sources, activate and update products with tools/functions provided by legitimate developers. To ensure device and user safety, it is paramount to have a reputable anti-virus/anti-spyware software installed and kept up-to-date. Furthermore, such programs should be used to run regular system scans and to remove detected threats. If you've already opened malicious attachments, we recommend running a scan with Malwarebytes for Windows to automatically eliminate infiltrated malware.

Text presented in the "We Have Hacked Your Website" email letter:

PLEASE FORWARD THIS EMAIL TO SOMEONE IN YOUR COMPANY WHO IS ALLOWED TO MAKE IMPORTANT DECISIONS!

We have hacked your website - and extracted your databases.

How did this happen?

Our team has found a vulnerability within your site that we were able to exploit. After finding the vulnerability we were able to get your database credentials and extract your entire database and move the information to an offshore server.

What does this mean?

We will systematically go through a series of steps of totally damaging your reputation. First your database will be leaked or sold to the highest bidder which they will use with whatever their intentions are. Next if there are e-mails found they will be e-mailed that their information has been sold or leaked and your - was at fault thusly damaging your reputation and having angry customers/associates with whatever angry customers/associates do. Lastly any links that you have indexed in the search engines will be de-indexed based off of blackhat techniques that we used in the past to de-index our targets.

How do I stop this?

We are willing to refrain from destroying your site's reputation for a small fee. The current fee is $1500 in bitcoins (BTC).

Please send the bitcoin to the following Bitcoin address (Copy and paste as it is case sensitive):

1JToMSCtc4nW3fNDUL4xV9QYqmyKJEYMdj

Once you have paid we will automatically get informed that it was your payment. Please note that you have to make payment within 5 days after receiving this e-mail or the database leak, e-mails dispatched, and de-index of your site WILL start!

How do I get Bitcoins?

You can easily buy bitcoins via several websites or even offline from a Bitcoin-ATM. We suggest you to start with localbitcoins.com, paxful.com or do a google search.

What if I don’t pay?

If you decide not to pay, we will start the attack at the indicated date and uphold it until you do, there’s no counter measure to this, you will only end up wasting more money trying to find a solution. We will completely destroy your reputation amongst google and your customers.

This is not a hoax, do not reply to this email, don’t try to reason or negotiate, we will not read any replies. Once you have paid we will stop what we were doing and you will never hear from us again!

Please note that Bitcoin is anonymous and no one will find out that you have complied.

Another variant of this scam:

we have hacked your website email scam another variant

Text in this scam:

PLEASE FORWARD THIS EMAIL TO SOMEONE IN YOUR COMPANY WHO IS ALLOWED TO MAKE IMPORTANT DECISIONS!

We have hacked your website - and extracted your databases.

How did this happen?

Our team has found a vulnerability within your site that we were able to exploit. After finding the vulnerability we were able to get your database credentials and extract your entire database and move the information to an offshore server.

What does this mean?

We will systematically go through a series of steps of totally damaging your reputation. First your database will be leaked or sold to the highest bidder which they will use with whatever their intentions are. Next if there are e-mails found they will be e-mailed that their information has been sold or leaked and your site - was at fault thusly damaging your reputation and having angry customers/associates with whatever angry customers/associates do. Lastly any links that you have indexed in the search engines will be de-indexed based off of blackhat techniques that we used in the past to de-index our targets.

How do I stop this?

We are willing to refrain from destroying your site’s reputation for a small fee. The current fee is $2000 USD in bitcoins (BTC).

Send the bitcoin to the following Bitcoin address (Copy and paste as it is case sensitive):

1Bs6CYDuHy1UGLr5ccz2UxRNcPGpeAa7tz

Once you have paid we will automatically get informed that it was your payment. Please note that you have to make payment within 5 days after receiving this notice or the database leak, e-mails dispatched, and de-index of your site WILL start!

How do I get Bitcoins?

You can easily buy bitcoins via several websites or even offline from a Bitcoin-ATM. We suggest you hxxps://cex.io/ for buying bitcoins.

What if I don’t pay?

If you decide not to pay, we will start the attack at the indicated date and uphold it until you do, there’s no counter measure to this, you will only end up wasting more money trying to find a solution. We will completely destroy your reputation amongst google and your customers.

This is not a hoax, do not reply to this email, don’t try to reason or negotiate, we will not read any replies. Once you have paid we will stop what we were doing and you will never hear from us again!

Please note that Bitcoin is anonymous and no one will find out that you have complied.

  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 - usually it is 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 1Download 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 "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 the 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 the 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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