Do not trust the You've Been Hacked! email scam

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

You've Been Hacked! email scam removal guide

What is You've Been Hacked! email scam?

It is common that scammers send emails claiming that they have stolen some personal information from people and demand a payment in return for not publishing that information. This scam is not an exception. Such emails should never be trusted/taken seriously.

You've Been Hacked! Email Scam email spam campaign

Scammers behind this email claim that they have stolen login credentials for payment systems, social networks, email accounts, messengers, browser cookies, correspondence history from email accounts, messengers and social networks. Also, they claim that they have stolen text, photo, video and audio files that were stored on a computer. According to scammers, they will not make any of the aforementioned information, data public if recipients will pay them $250 worth of Bitcoin to the provided BTC wallet. It is worthwhile to mention that there are many cases where instead of asking for a payment scammers attempt to trick recipients into providing them sensitive information (e.g., credit card details, passwords). In one way or another, such emails should be always ignored.

Threat Summary:
Name You've Been Hacked! Email Scam
Threat Type Phishing, Scam, Social Engineering, Fraud
Fake Claim Sensitive information has been stolen
Cyber Criminal Cryptowallet Address 1MaRdde6X7SGuoCdFNL2fmgpLomdx7peGC
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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More examples of email scams are "PASSWORD EXPIRATION NOTICE Email Scam", "POLÍCIA SEGURANÇA PÚBLICA Email Scam" and "Xerox Scanned Document Email Scam". As a rule, scammers behind them attempt to deceive unsuspecting recipients to transfer them funds or provide personal information. It is worthwhile to mention that emails can be used to proliferate malicious programs (e.g., Trojans, ransomware-type programs) as well.

How do spam campaigns infect computers?

Users infect their computers with malware via emails when they open malicious attachments or files that they have downloaded via links that they have received via email. Typically, cyber criminals attach malicious executable files (.exe), JavaScript files, PDF, Microsoft Office documents or archive files (like ZIP, RAR). It is worthwhile to mention that malicious MS Office documents can install malware only when users allow them to enable editing/content (macros commands). Although, if such documents are opened with MS Office versions prior to 2010, they install malicious software automatically. It is because the aforementioned versions do not include "Protected View" mode.

How to avoid installation of malware?

Attachments and website links that are received from unknown, suspicious addresses should not be opened. Especially when such emails are irrelevant. Files and programs should be downloaded via direct download links and from trustworthy, official websites. Third party downloaders, installers, Peer-to-Peer networks (torrent clients, eMule), unofficial websites, etc., should never be used neither to download or install anything. Installed software and operating system has to be updated with tools and/or implemented functions that are provided by its official software developers, and not some third party, unofficial tools. Another important detail regarding software activation with unofficial tools is that it is not legal to use such tools for that. Additionally, it is recommended to regularly scan the operating system with a reputable antivirus or anti-spyware suite. 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 You've Been Hacked! email scam letter:

Hello!

You've been hacked!

Now we have all the information about you and your accounts:

+ all your logins and passwords from all accounts in payment systems, social. networks, e-mail, messengers and other services (cookies from all your browsers, i.e. access without a login and password to any of your accounts)

+ history of all your correspondence by e-mail, messengers and social. networks

+ all files from your PC (text, photo, video and audio files)

Changing your username and password will not help, we will hack you again.

Pay a ransom of $ 250 and you can sleep peacefully without worrying that all information about you and all your accounts, files and personal correspondence will not become public and will not fall into the hands of intruders.

Bitcoin wallet to which you want to transfer $ 250 1MaRdde6X7SGuoCdFNL2fmgpLomdx7peGC

If you do not pay until tomorrow evening, then we will sell all this information on the darknet, there is a huge demand for such information

Pay $ 250 and sleep well!

Another variant of "You've Been Hacked!" scam email:

You've Been Hacked! scam email (2020-10-15)

Text presented within:

Subject: - You've been hacked!

Hello!

You still have not paid the requested amount of $ 250.

We found very interesting in your hacked accounts information that will cost more than $ 3000 on the darknet.

We give you one last chance. You have 7 hours to translate the requested amount.

If you don't care who uses your data, then you can do nothing.

Bitcoin wallet to which you want to transfer $ 250 1MaRdde6X7SGuoCdFNL2fmgpLomdx7peGC

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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possible malware infections QR code
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