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Ignore the your device was compromised email scam

Also Known As: possible malware infections
Damage level: Medium

What is your device was compromised email scam?

Typically, scammers behind sextortion email scams threaten to share embarrassing images or a video about the recipients. The main purpose of these scams is to trick recipients into believing that such images or a video exist and paying scammers money for not releasing the compromising material.

your device was compromised email scam

Your device was compromised email scam in detail

Scammers behind this particular sextortion scam claim that they have collected information such as visited websites and sent text messages. Also, they claim that they have had access to the webcam and microphone.

Their goal is to trick recipients into believing that all the collected information and other content will be shared with people in the contact list and published online if recipients do not pay $1650 in Bitcoins to the provided email address.

Scammers behind emails of this type counting on recipients to act out of fear - they do not actually have any compromising or sensitive material. Therefore, such emails should be ignored and reported.

It is worth mentioning that sextortion email scams can have a spoofed sender's email address (have the email address of the targeted victim). This technique is used to trick recipients into believing that scammers have broken into their accounts (or even computers).

Another technique that scammers use to make their emails look more believable is to include passwords in their emails. Typically, included passwords are old - scammers use passwords purchased on the dark web that were leaked after data breaches.

Threat Summary:
Name Your device was compromised email scam
Threat Type Phishing, Scam, Social Engineering, Fraud
Fake Claim Sensitive information has been collected and will be published unless a ransom is paid
Cyber Criminal Cryptowallet Address 1C8a9b9X5vVCDNbspzxFYiJGAR5v9YMPtF, 15WTKC6bCqVan52htetNa4ygvLh2cfsSp6
Ransom Size $1650 in Bitcoins
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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Sextortion scams in general

Most sextortion scams are pretty similar (more examples of similar emails are "I Am A Professional Programmer Who Specializes In Hacking Email Scam", "I Have Got Two Not Really Pleasant News For You Email Scam", and "I Have To Share Bad News With You Email Scam"). Most of them threaten to publish humiliating photos, videos, or other material and demand ransom payment.

It is important to mention that email can be used as a channel to distribute malware. As a rule, emails of this type contain a malicious website link or attachment.

How do spam campaigns infect computers?

When cybercriminals use emails to deliver malware, they send malicious links or files (attachments). Their goal is to trick recipients into downloading and then opening/executing a malicious file.

Usually, cybercriminals claim that the file attached to their email is some document, for example, purchase order or an invoice. Although files downloaded via emails of this type are malicious - they are designed to infect computers with ransomware, some trojan, or other malware.

Typically, emails used to deliver malware contain a malicious Microsoft Office document, PDF document, ZIP, RAR or another archive file, JavaScript file, some executable file. Recipients infect computers when they execute one or another malicious file.

It is worth mentioning that malicious documents opened with Microsoft Office 2010 or newer do not install malware unless users enable editing or content (macros commands). Older MS Office versions do not have the "Protected View" mode that prevents opened malicious documents from infecting computers.

How to avoid installation of malware?

It is important to update and activate installed programs with implemented functions or tools that are provided by their official developers. Third-party, unofficial tools often have some malware hidden in them and it is not legal to use cracked programs or cracking tools.

Website links and attachments in irrelevant emails should not be opened, especially when emails of this kind are received from unknown, suspicious senders. It is important to examine such emails - files or links in them could be used to distribute malicious software.

Furthermore, it is recommended to download software, files from official websites and via direct links. Files, programs downloaded via Peer-to-Peer networks, unofficial pages, third-party downloaders, etc., or installed via third-party installers could be malicious.

Additionally, it is advised to scan a computer for viruses regularly and to it with a reputable antivirus or anti-spyware software. If you've already opened malicious attachments, we recommend running a scan with Combo Cleaner Antivirus for Windows to automatically eliminate infiltrated malware.

Appearance of the your device was compromised email scam (GIF):

your device was compromised email scam appearance

Text presented in this email:

Subject: With reference to your cloud storage


I am sorry to inform you that your device was compromised.

I'll explain what led to all of this. I have used a Zero Day vulnerability with a special code to infect your device through a website.
This is a complicated software that requires precise skills that I have. It works as a chain with specially crafted and unique code and that’s why this type of an attack can go undetected.
You only need one not patched vulnerability to be infected, and unfortunately for you – it works that simple.

You were not targeted specifically, but just became one of the quite a few unlucky people who got hacked that day.
All of this happened a few month ago. So I’ve had time to collect information on you.

I think you already know what is going to happen next.
During that time, my software was quietly collecting c
There is more to it, but I have listed a few reasons for you to understand how serious this is.

For you to clearly understand, my software controlled your camera and microphone as well and it was impossible for you to know about it.
It was just about right timing for me to get you privacy violated.

I’ve been waiting enough and have decided that it’s time to put an end to this.
So here is my offer. Let’s name this a “consulting fee” I need to delete the media content I have been collecting.
Your privacy stays untouched, if I get the payment.
Otherwise, I will leak the most damaging content to your contacts and post it to a public tube for perverts to explore.

I understand how damaging this will be for you, and amount is not that big for you to keep your privacy.
Please dont blame me – we all have different ways of making a living.

I have no intention of destroying your reputation or life, but only if I get paid.
I don’t care about you personally, that's why you can be sure that all files I have and software on your device will be deleted immediately after I receive the transfer.
I only care about getting paid.

My modest consulting fee is 1650 US Dollars transferred in Bitcoin. Exchange rate at the time of the transfer.
You need to send that amount to this wallet: 1C8a9b9X5vVCDNbspzxFYiJGAR5v9YMPtF, 1NGCsGqSdNEKpptQ4DKbJEva59cTSk369o, 1HSb4fZHmyNro5LGyjQFpcDwqKjRUqJhh2

The fee is non negotiable, to be transferred within 2 business days.
We use Bitcoin to protect my identity.

Obviously do not try to ask for any help from anybody unless you want your privacy to violated.
I will monitor your every move until I get paid. If you keep your end of the agreement, you wont hear from me ever again.

Take care.

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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 Combo Cleaner Antivirus 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 Combo Cleaner Antivirus for Windows.

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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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