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Do not trust sextortion emails claiming your devices were broken into via network router

Also Known As: I broke into your computer system using the Wireless network router sextortion email
Damage level: Medium

What is "I broke into your computer system using the Wireless network router" email?

After inspecting the "I broke into your computer system using the Wireless network router" email, we determined that it is spam that operates as a sextortion scam.

It must be emphasized that all the claims made by this letter (i.e., possession of an explicit recording featuring the recipient, system infection, data exfiltration, etc.) - are all false. Therefore, these emails pose no actual threat to the recipients.

I broke into your computer system using the Wireless network router email spam campaign

"I broke into your computer system using the Wireless network router" email scam overview

The scam email states that the recipient's system was hacked "using the Wireless network router" a couple of months ago. Supposedly, the "hacker" exfiltrated data from all of the recipient's devices. Additionally, a recording was made them while they were visiting adult-oriented websites.

Unless 1400 USD in Bitcoin cryptocurrency are paid within three days, the sexually explicit video (which does not exist) will be sent to the recipient's contacts (e.g., email, social networking, messengers, etc.). Furthermore, the stolen data will be leaked online.

The sender claims to be untraceable; hence, the recipient is told not to contact law enforcement or perform other actions like changing their passwords - as that will not amount to anything.

As mentioned in the introduction, all the information provided by this email is fake. Therefore, neither were the devices infiltrated nor infected by the sender, their data was not stolen, and no compromising recordings exist. The "I broke into your computer system using the Wireless network router" email must simply be ignored, as its threats are empty.

Threat Summary:
Name I broke into your computer system using the Wireless network router sextortion email
Threat Type Sextortion, Scam, Social Engineering, Fraud
Fake Claim Recipient's devices were infected and used to record explicit videos (featuring the recipient), and sensitive data stolen.
Ransom Amount 1400 USD in Bitcoin cryptocurrency
Cyber Criminal Cryptowallet Address bc1qhnc03qcjh8u98ydkanwz3h39s9cqunje96jlw3 (Bitcoin)
Distribution methods Deceptive emails, rogue online pop-up ads, search engine poisoning techniques, misspelled domains.
Damage Monetary loss
Malware Removal (Windows)

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Sextortion scam email examples

We have analyzed dozens of emails akin to "I broke into your computer system using the Wireless network router"; "E-mail To You From An Account Of Yours", "Your system has been hacked with a Trojan virus", "I have been watching you" - are just a couple of examples.

Spam mail is commonly used for various scams (e.g., sextortion, phishing, etc.) and even malware proliferation. These letters can make varied claims and use the names/logos of legitimate entities - to gain and subsequently abuse users' trust.

How do spam campaigns infect computers?

Spam emails are often employed to distribute malware. They can have infectious files attached to them or contain links leading to malicious websites designed to stealthily download/install malware or trick users into doing so. Virulent files can be archives (ZIP, RAR, etc.), executables (.exe, .run, etc.), Microsoft Office and PDF documents, JavaScript, and so on.

Once such a file is opened, the infection process is triggered. It is noteworthy that some document formats may require additional user interaction to begin downloading/installing malware. For example, Microsoft Office documents cause infections by executing malicious macro commands.

How to avoid installation of malware?

We strongly advise exercising caution with incoming mail. The attachments and links present in suspicious emails and messages - must not be opened, as they can contain malware. Additionally, it is important to use Microsoft Office versions released after 2010 since they have the "Protected View" mode, which prevents automatic execution of macro commands.

However, malware is not spread just via spam mail. Therefore, we also recommend downloading only from official/verified sources and activating/updating software with tools provided by legitimate developers (illegal activation tools "cracks" and fake updates can cause system infections).

We must stress the importance of having a reputable anti-virus installed and kept updated. Security programs must be used to perform regular system scans and to remove threats and issues. 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 broke into your computer system using the Wireless network router" email letter:

Hello.
The following  is  your last warning.  I broke  into  your computer system  using the  Wireless network  router you were  connected to.
A few  months ago,  I entered the  devices that  you utilized  to  get on  the web.
All of  the data  from  your own electronics  and devices  has been  immediately replicated  to  my computers.
I get access  to  all your  mobile device  messengers, social  networks, e-mails,  chat history,  and  list of  contacts.
My malware constantly  updates its  signatures  (driver  based), therefore  it remains  unnoticeable  to  anti-virus software. I  guess right  now you  fully grasp,  exactly why I  stayed unnoticed  right until todayWhilst collecting  data in regards  to you,  I found  you're  a big  fan of  mature web  pages  & even  more.  You actually  like to stop by  adult sites  and watch dirty  videos  whilst having  an orgasm. I have  actually made  a  cam capturing videos  of you  jerking off.  The  editing of  the video  you're  seeing at the  same time  and your  self  pleasure. Your own happy  face is  clearly seeable.  I don't  think  this  type of information  would-be really  good for  your  reputation. I  can  send this  footage  out to everyone who  know  your identity.
I additionally have  no trouble  with  making all  your private  info open  to public  through  the web. I  think you  know  exactly what  I'm talking  about.
It may  be a  huge  disaster for  you.
I  am able  to wreck your life  for a  long time. I suspect  that you  definitely don't want  this to  occur.
Let's fix  it in such  a manner:  you transfer  me 1400  $ (usd)  using btc  equivalent at  the moment  of financial  transaction), and  i'll  right away  remove all  your data from  my servers.
After that, we  will ignore one  another.
My  btc payment address  for transaction:  bc1qhnc03qcjh8u98ydkanwz3h39s9cqunje96jlw3
Should  you not realize  how to  transfer  finances and  exactly  what Bitcoin  is. Simply type  in  the google search  engine "purchase  Bitcoin". I present  you with  3  days to  send me  the funds. The  time started  monitoring automatically  once  you opened the  message.  I'll  see a notification once this e-mail  is open. Don't   try and  search for  aid, as  the wallet  address  cannot be traced,  email  the note  came from  and can't  be  traced also  & created  automatically, hence  there's  no point  in  messaging me. Do not  try  to  make contact  with the  law enforcement  and other protection  solutions, and  if  so,  your own info  will be  revealed. Switching security passwords in  social  networks, email,  and gadgets  isn't  going to  help you,  since all  the information has  already been saved  to my  servers. Good  luck and  try to  not  do something  foolish. Give  some thought  to  your forthcoming future.

Appearance of the "I broke into your computer system using the Wireless network router" email (GIF):

I broke into your computer system using the Wireless network router scam email appearance (GIF)

Another example of "I broke into your computer system using the Wireless network router" spam email:

I broke into your computer system using the Wireless network router email spam (2022-05-04)

Text presented within:

Hello.
The following is your final notice.

I compromised your operating-system using the Wireless network device you were connecting to.

A couple of weeks prior, I entered the machines that you previously used to get online.
All of the data from your gadgets & devices has been immediately copied to my web servers.
I get access to all your mobile messengers, social networks, e-mails, chats, and contact list.
My computer virus continuously upgrades its personal signature (driver type), so it stays unnoticeable to anti-malware computer software. I suppose right now you see, why I stayed unnoticed until this exact day

Whilst gathering data about yourself, I discovered that you are a huge follower of mature websites & even more.

You actually love to go to mature websites and view kinky vids while having an ejaculation.

I've actually made a web camera capturing videos of you jacking off. The croping and editing of the clip you're watching at that moment and your masturbation. Your own face is clearly visible. I do not think this sort of information would be really good for your personal reputation.
I can now forward this video footage to everybody who know your identity.
I additionally have no problem with making all your private data open to public on line. I do believe you realize what i am talking about.
It'll be a true problem for you personally.
I can mess up your daily life for a long time.
I think that you definitely don't want this to occur.

Why don't we resolve it in this manner: you send me 1400 $ (dollars) thru Bitcoin equivalent at the time of payment), and I will right away get rid of all of your info from my servers. Following that, we will disregard each other.

My btc address for transfering: bc1q2kn4x3rurxkg6uzl9y48ky3js5c0nwptl9a6z7
If you don't know how to send finances & what exactly Bitcoin is. Then type in the Google "Buy btc".

I provide you with 2 days to send me money.
The timer started monitoring automatically as soon as you opened up the message.

I will see a message once this e-mail is exposed. Do not try and search help, as the wallet address cannot be monitored, address the message is originating from & can not be tracked also and created digitally, therefore there isn't any point in writing to me.

Do not make an attempt to get hold of the police & other protection solutions, & if you do, your personal info will undoubtedly be revealed. Switching passwords online in social media sites, e-mail, and gadgets will not help you, as all the information has already been saved to my web servers.
All the best and do not do anything dumb. Carefully consider your own future.

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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?

Spam emails are not personal. Cyber criminals distribute them in mass-scale operations; hence, thousands of users receive identical letters.

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

No, all the claims made by the "I broke into your computer system using the Wireless network router" email - are fake. Therefore, your devices have not been infected or otherwise compromised, and no recordings of you or other personal data - exist in the scammers' possession. This email poses no threat and must simply be ignored.

How did cyber criminals get my email password?

Your email might have been compromised through a phishing scam (e.g., a fake email requesting you to re-login and address some issue, a hoax registration/submission form that had to be filled for a service or a reward, etc.). The less likely scenario is that your email was exposed due to a data breach of a service/platform that you use.

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

No, since cryptocurrency transactions are virtually untraceable - they are irreversible.

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

If you have disclosed account credentials - change the passwords of all potentially compromised accounts and inform their official support without delay. If the provided information was of a different personal nature (e.g., ID card details, credit card numbers, etc.) - immediately contact the corresponding authorities.

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

No, merely opening a spam email will not trigger any system infection processes. They are jumpstarted when the attachments or links present in these emails - are opened/clicked.

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

Whether your system was infected may depend on the file's format. If it was an executable - most likely, yes - your device was infected. However, you might have avoided initiating malware download/installation processes if it was a document (.doc, .xls, .pdf, etc.). These files may require more interaction (e.g., enabling macro commands) to begin infection processes.

Will Combo Cleaner remove malware infections present in email attachments?

Yes, Combo Cleaner can detect and eliminate almost all known malware infections. It has to be mentioned that high-end malicious programs tend to hide deep within systems - therefore, performing a full system scan is paramount.

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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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