How to recognize scams like YOUR CORPORATE NETWORK HAS BEEN HACKED scam?

Damage level: Medium


This email scam is used to trick recipients into believing that their computers have been hacked and important files have been downloaded to a remote server controlled by hackers. Scammers behind it claim that the downloaded files will be published on their website if victims do not pay a certain amount of money.



Scammers claim that they have downloaded 120 GB of data and will publish it on their website after 24 hours from sending this email if recipients do not pay $2500 in Bitcoins to the provided wallet. They also claim that not paying a ransom will result in having the whole network locked down.

As a rule, scammers behind such emails do not target anyone in particular. They send the same email to many people hoping that someone will fall for their scam (for example, pay them money, provide personal information).

Threat Summary:
Threat Type Phishing, Scam, Social Engineering, Fraud
Fake Claim Network has been hacked, files have been downloaded and will be published
Ransom Amount $25000 in Bitcoins
Cyber Criminal Cryptowallet Address bc1qtttvn6eyhwshwtdst7tja0eqmgsd8r65phzjz5
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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Email scams in general

Emails of this kind must be ignored. As a rule, the claims that scammers make in their emails are not true. Usually, they seek to extract money or sensitive information. A couple examples of other emails of this type are "Im In Possession Of All Of Your Private Data", "I Am Sorry To Inform You But Your Device Was Hacked".

Emails also can be used to deliver malicious software. Typically, they are disguised as important, urgent letters from legitimate companies, organizations, or other entities.

How do spam campaigns infect computers?

Cybercriminals behind emails used to deliver malware attempt to trick recipients into opening a malicious attachment or a file downloaded through a website link. Recipients infect computers by opening malicious MS Office documents, JavaScript files, PDF documents, or other files.

Malicious MS Office documents do not infect computers unless users enable macros commands (editing or content). MS Office versions released before 2010 infect computers without asking to enable macros commands.

How to avoid installation of malware?

Files and programs should be downloaded from official, pages and through direct links. The operating system and installed programs must be updated and activated with implemented functions, tools provided by their official developers. Files and links in irrelevant emails received from suspicious senders should not be opened.

The operating system should be scanned for threats regularly. It is recommended to run scans using 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 CORPORATE NETWORK HAS BEEN HACKED email scam (GIF):

your corporate network has been hacked email scam in gif image

Text in this email:


!!!!!!!!!! IMPORTANT MESSAGE !!!!!!!!!!!!!!

YOUR CORPORATE NETWORK HAS BEEN HACKED. There are special beacon's all over
the network
waiting for our command to lock down your network. Don't try to detect it,
our software is set up
so that if you remove one beacon, the rest will immediately begin to
encrypt your corporate network.
The speed at which our software will have time to block your entire network
is 15 minutes.


This is an important message. Your company was attacked by cryptolockers
and was successfully hacked.
As a result of the hack 120 GB of information was downloaded from you
network, including accounting documents and
information that constitutes trade secrets. We are working under a new
scheme so as not to represent
inconvenience to the company with which we are dealing with that is why
before we block your computers we offer
solve the issue for a small compensation (which is much less than what will
be after exploitation of your vulnerabilities and
your computers) in the amount of $2500. You have 24 hours to respond to
this message and transfer
funds to this BTC wallet : bc1qtttvn6eyhwshwtdst7tja0eqmgsd8r65phzjz5 . Do
not try to contact the police, it will only make things worse.
We suggest to solve the issue peacefully  without causing you any
inconvenience. In case of non-compliance with our demands,
we will block your computers  and the ransom amount will be x100 times more
and will be $1,000,000.
As well as information that is of  commercial value will be published on a
special website.


Agree ransom $2500 is better than 1000000$, we have automated our work and
we are working on speed and mass.
Do not try to gamble with us. You have 24 hours to respond to our message.
All work is done automatically. We have no centralized servers.
There is no point in negotiating with us. The software automatically checks
the funds into the wallet
and makes a decision based on a neural network. We do not negotiate because
it is not safe.

We work on a double attack scheme. If we do not get a small (ransom of
$2500), then we go to step 2
Lock down the entire corporate network.

We know exactly when you open this email. And from that point on, the timer
starts. You have 24 hours to respond
to this message.

After receiving the money, our beacons will be liquidated and we will leave
you alone. All your information will be immediately deleted
from our servers. We will also send a letter with recommendations on how to
configure your corporate network to prevent this from
happening to you in the future.

We don't read the responses to this message. Therefore, there is no point
in writing a letter in response.


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Quick menu:

Types of malicious emails:

Phishing email icon Phishing 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.

Email-virus icon 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.

Sextortion email icon Sextortion Emails

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:

Example of an email spam

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)

Why did I receive this email?

Scammers send identical letter to many people (depending on the number of email addresses in their database) hoping that someone will fall for it. In other words, these emails are not personal.

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

No, your computer was not actually hacked, infected, compromised, or damaged in some other way. When scammers claim that they have stolen passwords (and include those passwords in their emails), they usually have retrieved them from databases containing leaked information.

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

Crypto transactions are virtually untraceable. People who get scammed cannot get their money back.

Email had a file attached to it by I didn't open it, is my computer infected?

No, opening an email does not do any damage. Recipients infect computers by opening attachments or links in malicious emails.

Will Combo Cleaner remove malware infections that were present in email attachment?

Yes, Combo Cleaner is capable of detecting and eliminating almost all known malware infections. High-end malware can be capable of hiding deep in the operating system. Therefore, the operating system has to be scanned using a full scan to detect that type of malware.

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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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