Avoid getting scammed by emails claiming that your computer was hacked
Written by Tomas Meskauskas on (updated)
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 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.
|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)||
To eliminate possible malware infections, scan your computer with legitimate antivirus software. Our security researchers recommend using Combo Cleaner.
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?
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:
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.
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):
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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 I Am A Programmer And Hacked Your Computer 3 Months Ago 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.
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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