What kind of email is "Specialized Hacker Succeeded In Hacking Your Operating System"?
After examining the "Specialized Hacker Succeeded In Hacking Your Operating System" email, we determined that it is spam. This letter is a sextortion scam; it makes false claims about explicit videos made of the recipient that will be distributed to their contacts unless a ransom is paid.
It must be emphasized that all the information provided by this email is fake. Therefore, the recipient's devices were not infected with malware, nor were any recordings featuring them made.
"Specialized Hacker Succeeded In Hacking Your Operating System" email scam overview
The email with the subject "Your private information has been stolen because of suspicious events." (may vary) introduces the sender as a "hacker", who has infected the recipient's device with a trojan/spyware and has been monitoring them for months. The nonexistent infection originated from an adult-oriented website that the recipient had allegedly visited.
Supposedly, the malware was used to extract email-related information and chat histories. Furthermore, the undetectable infection was utilized in recording compromising footage of the recipient when they were visiting pornographic sites. The recordings were then edited into videos displaying the recipient side-by-side with the content they were viewing at the time.
The scammer threatens to send the fake videos to the recipient's email/messenger contacts, as well as leak their communications – unless a ransom is paid. The recipient is given 50 hours to send 750 USD worth of Bitcoin cryptocurrency to the scammer. The sender also warns that should this email be shared with others – the bogus footage will be publicized.
As mentioned in the introduction, all the claims made by "Specialized Hacker Succeeded In Hacking Your Operating System" are false. This means that no devices were infected, nor were any explicit videos of the recipient recorded. Hence, this spam mail poses no actual threat to the recipients.
Victims of scams like "Specialized Hacker Succeeded In Hacking Your Operating System" can experience financial losses, and due to the virtually untraceable nature of cryptocurrency transactions – the sent funds cannot be retrieved.
|Name||"Specialized Hacker Succeeded In Hacking Your Operating System" sextortion email|
|Threat Type||Phishing, Scam, Social Engineering, Fraud|
|Fake Claim||Unless a ransom is paid – explicit videos featuring the recipient will be sent to their contacts.|
|Ransom Size||750 USD in Bitcoin cryptocurrency|
|Cyber Criminal Cryptowallet Address||15wQk4AHFCtWGyAzjsG9c947prqdeR2tGb (Bitcoin), 1K9PMKQPZ1zMhet9WbP2pxvU3QExYjqMmU (Bitcoin), 1LhnqVQB4GPKSLEctTma3gdkYRQefJv5eB (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.
Sextortion spam campaign examples
We have analyzed numerous spam emails; "I Will Be Direct You Watch Adult Content", "You Could Be In Trouble With The Law", "Professional Hacker Managed To Hack Your Operating System", and "Porn Websites I Attacked With My Virus Xploit" are merely some examples of letters used to facilitate sextortion scams.
Spam mail is utilized in the promotion of phishing and various other scams. It is also used to spread malware. These emails/messages can be basic/plain or elaborately disguised as notifications/alerts from genuine companies, organizations, institutions, authorities, and other entities.
How do spam campaigns infect computers?
When such a file is opened – the infection chain is jumpstarted. However, some formats may require additional actions to trigger malware download/installation processes. For example, Microsoft Office documents need users to enable macro commands (i.e., editing/content), while OneNote files require them to click embedded files/links.
How to avoid installation of malware?
We highly recommend treating incoming emails, PMs/DMs, SMSes, and other messages with caution. Attachments or links found in suspect mail must not be opened, as they can be malicious. Another recommendation is to use Microsoft Office versions released after 2010 since they have the "Protected View" mode that prevents automatic macro command execution.
It must be mentioned that malware is not distributed exclusively via spam mail. Therefore, we advise downloading only from official and verified channels.
Furthermore, all programs must be activated and updated using functions/tools provided by legitimate developers, as illegal activation ("cracking") tools and third-party updaters can contain malware.
Because deceptive and dangerous online content usually appears genuine and harmless – we advise being careful while browsing.
We must emphasize the importance of having a reputable anti-virus installed and kept updated. Security software must be used to run regular system scans and to remove detected 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 "Specialized Hacker Succeeded In Hacking Your Operating System" email:
Subject: Your private information has been stolen because of suspicious events.
Would like to introduce myself - I am a specialized hacker, and have succeeded in hacking your operating system.
At this moment, I have obtained a complete access to account of yours.
On top of that, I was also unnoticeably observing all your activities and spying on you for few past months.
It was possible because your computer was infected with malicious spyware, which infiltrated your computer while you were visiting a website containing adult videos.
Give me a few minutes to clarify how that affects you. Because of Trojan viruses, I am now able to have an unrestricted access to your computer as well as any other devices owned by you.
In other words, I can see without any restrictions everything in your screen and even activate the camera together with microphone anytime I want, and you won't even know about that.
Moreover, I have complete access to confidential data of yours including emails, chat history etc.
You may be rightfully puzzled how come your antivirus is not able to detect the harmful software of mine.
I don't mind explaining that at all: my malicious software is driver-based; hence it refreshes its signatures every 4 hours,
which makes it impossible for your antivirus to identify it.
I have come up with a video exposing the scenes of your passionate masturbation sessions on the left side, whereas on the right side it shows the dirty videos you were watching during that time. `.`
Trust me, it takes several mouse clicks to distribute this video to your entire email addresses list as well as messenger contacts on your PC or other devices.
Additionally, I can easily share all your emails as well as chat history to public too.
I honestly think you would certainly like to abstain from letting that happen.
There is a solution for you in this case - perform 750 USD transfer in Bitcoin equivalent to Bitcoin account of mine (it is really not difficult to do, and you can find online the step-by-step guide, if you have no idea about it).
My bitcoin account details are below as follows (Bitcoin wallet): 15wQk4AHFCtWGyAzjsG9c947prqdeR2tGb
Once the aforementioned amount gets transferred to my account, I will straight away erase all those kinky videos and vanish from your life completely.
Please, settle this payment within 50 hours (2 days).
A notification will be sent to me right after this email gets opened, which will trigger the countdown.
Believe me, I am very cautious, professional and never fail.
If I get to know about you sharing this message with anyone else, I will right away distribute your private videos to public.
Best of luck!
Appearance of the "Specialized Hacker Succeeded In Hacking Your Operating System" spam email (GIF):
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- What is "Specialized Hacker Succeeded In Hacking Your Operating System" sextortion email?
- 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)
Why did I receive this email?
Spam emails are not personal, regardless of any relevant details that they might include. Cyber criminals send this mail in large-scale campaigns – therefore, thousands of users receive identical messages.
Was my computer actually hacked and does the sender have any information?
No, this email is a sextortion scam. These scammers have not infected your devices with malware or obtained sensitive information from them. Likewise, they have not recorded any videos of you.
How did cyber criminals get my email password?
Scammers typically obtain account log-in credentials through phishing scams. Hence, you could have fallen victim to one and entered your credentials into a fake sign-in page. In some rare instances, log-ins/passwords are obtained through data breaches to victims' devices or to service providers' networks.
I have sent cryptocurrency to the address presented in this email, can I get my money back?
No, cryptocurrency transactions are practically irreversible since they are virtually untraceable.
I have provided my personal information when tricked by a spam email, what should I do?
If you believe that your log-in credentials have been compromised – change the passwords of all possibly exposed accounts and inform their official support. And if you have disclosed other private data (e.g., ID card details, passport photos/scans, 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/reading an email will not initiate any malware download/installation chains. Devices are infected when malicious attachments or links are opened.
I have downloaded and opened a file attached to a spam email, is my computer infected?
If the opened file was an executable (.exe, .run, etc.) – most likely, yes – your device was infected. However, an infection might have been avoided if it was a document (.doc, .xls, .one, .pdf, etc.). These formats may need additional actions (e.g., enabling macro commands, clicking embedded content, etc.) to jumpstart malware download/installation processes.
Will Combo Cleaner remove malware infections present in email attachments?
Yes, Combo Cleaner is designed to detect and eliminate all manner of threats. It is capable of removing practically all known malware infections. Note that high-end malicious software typically hides deep within systems – therefore, running a full system scan is paramount.