What kind of email is "How I Earned Bitcoins"?
Our inspection of the "How I Earned Bitcoins" email revealed that it is spam. The letter aims to redirect recipients to a scam website by claiming that the sender has earned 12600 BTC (Bitcoin cryptocurrency). The promoted site aims to trick recipients into transferring their own Bitcoins to the listed cryptocurrency wallet.
"How I Earned Bitcoins" email scam overview
The spam email with the subject "How I managed to earn 12600 BTC in 2023" (may vary) merely states that the sender has earned a large amount of Bitcoin cryptocurrency and provides a website URL. Supposedly, the sum is 12600 BTC which, at the time of writing, is worth over 32 billion USD.
The text on the promoted site is written in the first person. It details how the unidentified person earned the ludicrous amount of Bitcoins. The alleged secret is a vulnerable Bitcoin wallet that sends back double the amount of BTC transferred into it. The individual claims to have generated 12600 BTC by sending funds to that wallet 16 hours a day for 9 months.
Allegedly, the vulnerability will not exist for long; hence, the website's visitor is urged to use this technique without delay. They are informed of the cryptowallet's limitations – it can only receive 0.009 to 0.09 BTC in one transfer (approx. 200 to 2000 USD, at the current exchange rate). Double the amount will arrive to the wallet the cryptocurrency was sent from within 1-2 hours.
It must be emphasized that all these claims are false – there is no vulnerable Bitcoin wallet that doubles the amount sent to it, nor is there a person who has gotten rich from it.
Therefore, funds transferred to the provided wallet address will yield no return and will simply be stolen. Furthermore, due to the practically untraceable nature of cryptocurrency transactions – reversal is not possible. Victims of scams like "How I Earned Bitcoins" can experience significant financial losses.
|Name||"How I Earned Bitcoins" spam email|
|Threat Type||Phishing, Scam, Social Engineering, Fraud|
|Fake Claim||Recipient can earn a ludicrous amount of Bitcoins by exploiting a vulnerable cryptowallet.|
|Cyber Criminal Cryptowallet Address||bc1qwwwv9urcrq0jyalcqccc2wxk58xm3r3hgyfejx (Bitcoin)|
|Related Domains||harpersbazaars[.]com, telegra[.]ph|
|Detection Names (harpersbazaars[.]com)||CRDF (Malicious), Abusix (Spam), alphaMountain.ai (Spam), Full List Of Detections (VirusTotal)|
|Serving IP Address (harpersbazaars[.]com)||126.96.36.199|
|Detection Names (telegra[.]ph)||CyRadar (Malicious), ESTsecurity (Malicious), StopForumSpam (Spam), Full List Of Detections (VirusTotal)|
|Serving IP Address (telegra[.]ph)||188.8.131.52|
|Distribution methods||Deceptive emails, rogue online pop-up ads, search engine poisoning techniques, misspelled domains.|
|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
We have analyzed thousands of spam emails; "Central Bank Of Nigeria", "Check Out These Messages!", "Donation From Coca-Cola", "Repair Response" – are just some of our newest finds. "Bittrex Crypto Giveaway", "FIFA Crypto Giveaway", and "MicroStrategy Crypto Giveaway" are a couple examples of online scams similar to "How I Earned Bitcoins".
Spam mail is used to facilitate a wide variety of scams, e.g., phishing, sextortion, tech support, refund, inheritance, lottery, etc. Additionally, these letters are utilized in malware proliferation.
Due to how widespread spam mail is and how well-made it can be – we highly recommend being careful with incoming emails, DMs/PMs, SMSes, and other messages.
How do spam campaigns infect computers?
When such a file is executed, run, or otherwise opened – the infection chain is triggered. Some formats may need extra interaction to initiate malware download/installation chains. To elaborate, Microsoft Office documents require users to enable macro commands (i.e., editing/content), while OneNote files need them to click on embedded files or links.
How to avoid installation of malware?
It is essential to treat incoming emails and other messages with caution. We advise against opening attachments or links found in suspect mail, as they can be virulent. We recommend using Microsoft Office versions released after 2010 since their "Protected View" mode prevents automatic macro command execution.
However, it must be mentioned that malware is not distributed only via spam mail. Therefore, we also advise being careful while browsing since fake and malicious online content typically appears genuine and innocuous.
Furthermore, all downloads must be performed from official and verified sources. It is just as important to activate and update software by using legitimate functions/tools, as illegal activation tools ("cracks") and third-party updaters may contain malware.
We must emphasize that having a reputable anti-virus installed and kept up-to-date is paramount to device integrity and user safety. Security programs must be used to run 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 "How I Earned Bitcoins" spam email letter:
Subject: -: How I managed to earn 12600 BTC in 2023
I earned 12600 BTC in 2023 hxxp://btc-91241.harpersbazaars.com/new
Appearance of a scam website promoted by this spam email (GIF):
Text presented in this website:
How I earned 12,600 bitcoins in 2023 from a vulnerable bitcoin wallet
September 11, 2023
Everything is simple here.
By chance, in January 2023, I learned that there are Bitcoin wallets with vulnerabilities. From whom I learned this and how I will not tell you.
The bottom line is that a Bitcoin wallet with a vulnerability literally doubles the amount you sent to it and sends it back to you immediately.
If you look and analyze a vulnerable Bitcoin wallet, it looks pristinely clean and at the same time doubles the amount received to it and sends it back. It's actually amazing.
In total, from January 9, 2023 to September 1, 2023, I earned 12,600 BTC on one of the vulnerable wallets. I worked 16 hours a day, non-stop sending bitcoins to a vulnerable wallet. I worked so hard because this particular vulnerable Bitcoin wallet has its own restrictions on the amount sent from 0.009 to 0.09 BTC at a time. Thus, I sent 0.09 BTC from many Bitcoin wallets without stopping.
A couple of days ago I realized that I was already very, very rich and that I no longer needed anything.
So I decided to share this big secret with other people.
This is the same Bitcoin wallet that made me a multimillionaire in just 9 months - bc1qwwwv9urcrq0jyalcqccc2wxk58xm3r3hgyfejx
As a professional on vulnerable Bitcoin wallets explained to me, the vulnerability of this particular Bitcoin wallet will only be valid until September 13th. Starting September 14, the wallet will stop doubling and sending funds back, so hurry up and get rich in a few days.
The main thing is to follow one single rule, as I wrote above - send only 0.009 to 0.09 BTC to it at a time and within 1-2 hours a double amount will be sent to your wallet from which you sent bitcoins. I hope this is not difficult and you will become a millionaire in the near future.
I wish you success and wealth!
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- What is "How I Earned Bitcoins" spam 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. They are distributed in large-scale operations – therefore, thousands of users receive identical messages.
I have sent cryptocurrency to the address promoted through this email, can I get my money back?
No, cryptocurrency transactions are virtually untraceable – hence, they are practically irreversible.
I have provided my personal information when tricked by a spam email, what should I do?
If you have disclosed your log-in credentials – change the passwords of all potentially exposed accounts and inform their official support without delay. If you have provided other private information (e.g., ID card details, passport scans/photos, credit card numbers, etc.) – immediately contact the appropriate authorities.
I have read a spam email but didn't open the attachment, is my computer infected?
Devices are infected when malicious attachments or links are opened; just reading an email will not trigger any system infection processes.
I have downloaded and opened a file attached to a spam email, is my computer infected?
Whether the system was compromised might depend on the opened file's format. If it was an executable (.exe, .run, etc.) – most likely, yes. However, you might have avoided an infection if it was a document (.doc, .xls, .pdf, .one, etc.). These formats may need additional actions to jumpstart infection chains (e.g., enabling macros, clicking embedded content, etc.).
Will Combo Cleaner remove malware infections present in email attachments?
Yes, Combo Cleaner can detect and remove nearly all known malware infections. It must be stressed that sophisticated malicious programs tend to hide deep within systems – hence, running a full system scan is crucial.