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Avoid getting scammed by emails claiming that your computer was hacked

Also Known As: possible malware infections
Damage level: Medium

What is "I am a programmer and hacked your computer 3 months ago Email Scam"?

"I am a programmer and hacked your computer 3 months ago Email Scam" refers to a spam campaign. These letters use the sextortion scam model - they claim that a sexually explicit video featuring the recipient will be publicized unless a ransom is paid. It must be emphasized that all of the claims made by the emails are fake.

I am a programmer and hacked your computer 3 months ago email spam campaign

"I am a programmer and hacked your computer 3 months ago Email Scam" overview

The scam emails state that recipients' computers were hacked three months ago. The scammers claim that they have recorded a video of the victim while they were visiting a pornography website. Furthermore, the letters inform that other sensitive information, such as the recipients' contacts list, were likewise extracted from their devices.

The emails give 48 hours to pay 300/500 USD in Bitcoin cryptocurrency - else the nonexistent recording will be sent to the stolen contacts and leaked online. However, the information provided by the letters - is false. Therefore, no videos exist, nor were recipients' devices infiltrated. These spam emails must be ignored, as they pose no threat.

Threat Summary:
Name I am a programmer and hacked your computer 3 months ago Email Scam
Threat Type Phishing, Scam, Social Engineering, Fraud
Fake Claim Scam emails claim that an explicit video of the recipient will be publicized unless a ransom is paid.
Ransom Amount 300/500 USD in Bitcoin cryptocurrency
Cyber Criminal Cryptowallet Address 1BF2xkjKdFjYnm8F5J2Z3qKHa1qY6JgLn6 (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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Spam campaigns in general

"Have you heard about Pegasus?", "I know you are cheating on your partner", "I have e-mailed you from your account", and "Reminder about your dirty deeds!" are a few examples of sextortion spam emails.

Deceptive letters use a variety of fake claims and disguises to gain and abuse users' trust. In addition to phishing and various scams, spam mail is also used to distribute malware (e.g., trojans, ransomware, etc.). It is strongly recommended to exercise caution with incoming emails and messages.

How do spam campaigns infect computers?

Spam campaigns proliferate malware via infectious files, which can be attached to or linked inside the scam emails. These files can be in various formats, e.g., Microsoft Office and PDF documents, archives, executables, JavaScript, etc. Malware download/installation is initiated - when the files are opened.

For example, Microsoft Office documents cause infections by executing malicious macro commands. This is automatic in Microsoft Office versions released before 2010; newer versions have "Protected View" mode that prevents macro execution. Instead, users can manually enable macro commands (i.e., editing/content).

How to avoid installation of malware?

Suspicious and irrelevant emails should not be opened, especially any attachments or links found in them. It is recommended to use Microsoft Office versions released after 2010.

Malware is also distributed via dubious download channels (e.g., Peer-to-Peer sharing networks, unofficial and freeware websites, etc.), illegal activation tools ("cracks"), and fraudulent updates. Hence, it is advised to always download from official/verified sources and activate/update tools provided by genuine developers.

It is paramount to have a reputable anti-virus installed and kept updated. This software has to be used to perform regular system scans and to remove detected 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 "I am a programmer and hacked your computer 3 months ago" scam email letter:

Subject: ALERT! I hacked your server and have you information safe

 

Hey ********** ,

 

I am a programmer and hacked your computer 3 months ago. I kept saving information all the time, such as:

 

browsing history, screen recordings, contacts, messages and much more.

 

I already wanted to forget you, but recently I saw something interesting on your device. I'm talking about

 

the day you visited a porn site. I decided to record video from the webcam ,phone screens and desktop. Now I

 

have a video of you masturbating yourself. You know what I mean??

 

I connected to the webcam remotely, and turned off the indicator so that you would not notice anything.

 

I have already written down all your contacts from the address book. All contacts from friends,

 

acquaintances, relatives. All this will be with me.

 

I am ready to forget about all this and completely stop accessing your computer and email. I guarantee I will

 

not send these videos and delete all archives with them. After that I will leave and no longer bother you,

 

but for that I want to have $300 worth of bitcoins in my wallet. You have 48 hours after reading this email.

 

I still control your email and computer - and I know when you open them and read them.

 

Don't try to change your email password, everything is under control. Do not try to contact me and answer

 

this letter. I sent it to you from your email address. Take a look at the sender, you will see that I have

 

complete control over your email and your computer.

 

Bitcoin wallet address:
1BF2xkjKdFjYnm8F5J2Z3qKHa1qY6JgLn6

 

If you do not know how to buy bitcoins, you can find information on how to buy bitcoins online. If you need

 

help, you can read several articles about it.

 

hxxps://localbitcoins.com/guides/how-to-buy-bitcoins
hxxps://www.coinbase.com/buy-bitcoin?locale=en
hxxps://paxful.com/how-to-buy-bitcoin

 

I look forward to your actions. If you don't need this data online and with all your friends, send $500 to my

 

wallet ASAP. After that I will erase all data and disappear from your life.

 

Do not be offended by me. If you pay, nothing happens.

 

Next time update your browser before browsing the web!

Appearance of the "I am a programmer and hacked your computer 3 months ago" scam email (GIF):

I am a programmer and hacked your computer 3 months ago scam email appearance (GIF)

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:
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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.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Was my computer actually hacked and does the sender have any information?

No, the "I am a programmer and hacked your computer 3 months ago" email is a scam. The scammers do not have any information that they claim is in their possession.

I have sent cryptocurrency to the address presented in this email, can I get my money back?

No, cryptocurrency transactions cannot be returned as they are practically untraceable.

I have provided my personal information when tricked by a spam email, what should I do?

If the disclosed information was account credentials, immediately change all passwords. If the data was of a personal nature (e.g., credit card numbers, ID card details, etc.) - contact the corresponding/relevant authorities without delay.

I have read a spam email but didn't open the attachment, is my computer infected?

No, opening an email will not initiate infection processes. Opening any attachments or clicking links inside such emails - is how system infections are triggered.

I have downloaded and opened a file attached to a spam email, is my computer infected?

Depends on the file; if it was an executable - it is highly likely that yes, your system has been infected. If it was a document (.pdf, .doc, etc.) - an infection might have been avoided since, in some cases, opening a file is not enough to trigger malware download/installation.

Will Combo Cleaner remove malware infections present in email attachments?

Yes, Combo Cleaner is capable of detecting and eliminating most of the known malware infections. It is noteworthy that sophisticated malware usually hides deep within the system; therefore, running a full system scan is crucial.

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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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