Do not trust the "Zero day security vulnerability on Zoom app" scam email
Written by Tomas Meskauskas on (updated)
What is the "Zero day security vulnerability on Zoom app" scam email?
"Zero day security vulnerability on Zoom app" is a spam campaign that uses the sextortion scam model. The term "spam campaign" defines a mass-scale operation during which thousands of deceptive emails are sent. The messages distributed through this campaign claim that the sender has obtained highly compromising video footage of the recipient.
The nonexistent recordings were supposedly made via an exploit of a vulnerability found in the Zoom application, a legitimate conferencing service. These scam emails aim to trick recipients into paying ransoms to avoid having the fake videos publicized.
Note that all claims made by the "Zero day security vulnerability on Zoom app" messages are false.
The scam emails (with subject/title "Regarding Zoom Conference call", which may vary) state knowledge of the recipient having recently used the Zoom conferencing service. Due to an alleged weakness in the application's security, the sender claims to have infiltrated the recipient's device.
Specifically, the scammers claim to have gained access to the device's camera and data relating to the recipient's email account. Through the hijacked camera, compromising footage (of a sexual nature) has been recorded. The messages threaten to send the (nonexistent) video to the recipient's contacts (e.g., friends, family and colleagues).
To prevent this from happening, a ransom equivalent to US$2000 (USD) in the Bitcoin cryptocurrency must be paid within two days. The emails warn that the sender cannot be located and advise against contacting the authorities or taking other ill-advised actions.
As mentioned, none of the information provided by the "Zero day security vulnerability on Zoom app" scam emails is true - the recipients' devices have not been infiltrated, nor was any compromising footage recorded.
The purpose of these deceptive messages is to trick recipients into paying the scammers. Therefore, these scam emails should be ignored.
|Name||Zero Day Security Vulnerability On Zoom App Email Scam|
|Threat Type||Phishing, Scam, Social Engineering, Fraud|
|Fake Claim||Scam emails claim a compromising video of the recipient will be publicized, unless the user pays a ransom.|
|Ransom Amount||US$2000 (USD) equivalent in Bitcoin cryptocurrency|
|Cyber Criminal Cryptowallet Address||15y6ADpqBDvxNovWxeWEBXRGiPdj14vaKb (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)||
To eliminate possible malware infections, scan your computer with legitimate antivirus software. Our security researchers recommend using Combo Cleaner.
"I know that you visit 18+ content", "Your local network has been compromised", "I infected your computer with my private trojan", and "You have 46 Hours in order to make the payment" are some examples of other sextortion spam campaigns.
Deceptive emails are usually presented as "urgent", "important", "priority", and similar. They may even be disguised as mail from legitimate institutions, organizations, companies, businesses, service providers, and other entities. Spam campaigns are used for various scams, phishing, and malware proliferation.
Due to the prevalence of spam mail, exercise caution with incoming emails.
How do spam campaigns infect computers?
Ransomware and other malware infections are commonly spread through malspam campaigns, untrusted file/software download sources, fake (third party) software updating tools, Trojans and unofficial software activation tools.
Note that malicious MS Office documents can install malware only when users enable editing/content (macros commands). If the documents are opened with MS Office versions prior to 2010, however, the documents install malicious software automatically, since these older versions do not include "Protected View" mode.
Examples of untrusted file and software download sources are Peer-to-Peer networks (torrent clients), free file hosting websites, freeware download sites, and unofficial web pages. These are used to distribute malicious files by disguising them as legitimate and regular. When users download and open (execute) the files, however, they inadvertently install malware.
Fake software updating tools cause damage by installing malware rather than updates/fixes for installed software, or by exploiting bugs/flaws of outdated software. Trojans are malicious programs that can cause chain infections by installing other software of this kind. Note that malware can only be distributed in this way if Trojans are already installed on computers.
Unofficial activation ('cracking') tools are illegal programs that supposedly activate licensed software free of charge and bypass activation, however, they often install other malicious programs instead.
How to avoid installation of malware
To avoid malware spread via spam mail, you are strongly advised against opening suspicious or irrelevant emails, especially those with any attachments or links present within them.
Additionally, use Microsoft Office versions released after 2010. Malicious programs also proliferate through untrusted download channels (e.g. unofficial and free file-hosting sites, Peer-to-Peer sharing networks and other third party downloaders), illegal software activation ("cracking") tools, and fake updaters.
Therefore, only download from official/verified sources and activate and update software with tools/functions provided by legitimate developers.
To ensure device integrity and user privacy, have a reputable anti-virus/anti-spyware suite installed and kept updated. Furthermore, use these programs to run regular system scans and to remove detected/potential threats.
If you've already opened malicious attachments, we recommend running a scan with Combo Cleaner Antivirus for Windows to automatically eliminate infiltrated malware.
Text presented in the "Zero day security vulnerability on Zoom app" scam email message:
Subject: Regarding Zoom Conference call
Hello. I'll need your attention now. This is the last warning.
You have used Zoom recently, like most of us during these bad COVID times. And I have very unfortunate news for you.
I'll give you some background on what happened.
There was a zero day security vulnerability on Zoom app, that allowed me a full time access to your camera and some other metadata on your account.
You were just unlucky to be targeted.
And as you can imagine in your worst dreams, I have made a footage with you as a main actor.
You work on yourself (perform sex act to be clear). Having fun is ok with me, but is not ok with your reputation.
Please dont blame me or yourself for this. You couldn't know that the camera was working.
I'm sure you don't want to be the next Jeffrey Toobin and get embarrassed in front of all your friends, family and colleagues.
You should get this very clear, I will send this video to all your contacts if I dont get paid.
Are you wondering how I got your contacts? Through the same exploit, zoom app allowed me to extract all sensitive info from your device.
So here is what we will do. You pay me $2000 in bitcoin, and nothing of this will happen. You have 2 days to make the payment.
After I get the money, I will delete the footage and information about you. The amount is not negotiable.
Send 0.07 Bitcoin (about 2k USD at the current exchange rate) to my wallet 15y6ADpqBDvxNovWxeWEBXRGiPdj14vaKb
Having trouble with buying bitcoin? Just google on how to buy it, it's very easy to use and anonymous.
P.S. Don't try to report this to the police, I use TOR and bitcoin can't be traced. Do not email me back. If you do something stupid, I will distribute the video.
Good luck. Don’t stress.
Instant automatic malware removal:
Manual threat removal might be a lengthy and complicated process that requires advanced computer skills. Combo Cleaner is a professional automatic malware removal tool that is recommended to get rid of malware. Download it by clicking the button below:
- What is Zero Day Security Vulnerability On Zoom App spam?
- Types of malicious emails.
- How to spot a malicious email?
- What to do if you fell for an email scam?
Types of malicious 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.
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.
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:
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.
▼ Show Discussion