Avoid getting scammed by fake "Internet Is A Dangerous Place" emails

Also Known As: "Internet Is A Dangerous Place" sextortion scam
Damage level: Medium

What kind of email is "Internet Is A Dangerous Place"?

After we inspected the "Internet Is A Dangerous Place" email, it became evident that this is a sextortion scam. This bogus letter claims that the recipient's devices were infected, and the infection proliferated to their contacts and family. This unauthorized and illegal access was used to collect highly compromising information and recordings.

It must be emphasized that all the information provided by "Internet Is A Dangerous Place" is false. Hence, no machines were infected, nor was any sensitive content acquired.

Internet Is A Dangerous Place email spam campaign

"Internet Is A Dangerous Place" email scam overview

The spam email with the subject "Security status not satisfied." (may vary) informs the recipient that their device was infected because of their lack of Internet knowledge and tendency to click malicious links. The infection then self-spread to other devices and even to those belonging to the recipient's colleagues, friends, and family.

The AI-based malware was used to obtain sensitive/compromising data and record sexually explicit videos via webcams. Deletion of this content requires paying $1390 in Bitcoin cryptocurrency. If the payment is not made – the data will be made public, and all others affected will be informed that it is the recipient's fault. Forty-eight hours are given to comply with these demands.

It must be emphasized that all the claims made by this email are false. This means that no devices were infected, nor was any information/content recorded or stolen. In other words, this mail poses no threat to recipients.

It is noteworthy that cryptocurrency transactions are irreversible because of their nearly untraceable nature. Hence, victims of scams like "Internet Is A Dangerous Place" cannot get their money back.

It is also worth mentioning that spam mail of this kind is often sent from recipients' own inboxes. In such instances, it is important to change the passwords of all potentially compromised accounts (e.g., ones linked to an exposed email) and contact their official support without delay.

Threat Summary:
Name "Internet Is A Dangerous Place" sextortion scam
Threat Type Sextortion Scam, Phishing, Scam, Social Engineering, Fraud
Fake Claim Recipient's and their contacts' devices were infected. Malware was used to obtain/record compromising content. If the recipient refuses to pay – this content will be leaked.
Cyber Criminal Cryptowallet Addresses 1PPJpvSPbbMwbESJZXGS8VtKiFQkmm7DvK, 16ao3XGt97R9we1Rr5BRAw6xn3sTkJcKdh
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 spam campaign examples

We have inspected thousands of spam emails; "You Have Been Under Surveillance", "News That's Not Very Cheerful", and "You Are Now On The Radar Of An International Group Of Hackers" are just a couple examples of ones facilitating sextortion scams.

Various schemes are promoted through deceptive mail, e.g., phishing (targeting log-in credentials, personally identifiable details, finance-related data, etc.), tech support, refund, lottery, inheritance, and so forth.

Spam mail can be riddled with mistakes or be competently crafted and even believably disguised as content associated with genuine entities (e.g., companies, institutions, organizations, service providers, authorities, etc.).

How do spam campaigns infect computers?

The use of spam campaigns is prevalent in malware distribution. These emails/messages can have malicious files attached to or linked inside them. The files can be archives (ZIP, RAR, etc.), executables (.exe .run, etc.), documents (Microsoft Office, Microsoft OneNote, PDF, etc.), JavaScript, and so on.

The malware downloads/installation chain is initiated once such a file is opened. However, some formats need additional user interaction to jumpstart system infection processes. For example, Microsoft Office files require users to enable macro commands (i.e., editing/content), while OneNote documents need them to click embedded files or links.

How to avoid installation of malware?

We highly recommend exercising caution with incoming emails, DMs/PMs, SMSes, and other messages. Attachments or links found in suspect/irrelevant mail must not be opened, as they can be virulent.

However, malware is proliferated by relying on various techniques. Therefore, we also advise vigilance while browsing, as fraudulent and malicious online content usually appears legitimate and innocuous.

Another recommendation is to download only from official and verified channels. Additionally, all programs must be activated and updated using genuine functions/tools, as illegal activation tools ("cracks") and third-party updaters may contain malware.

It is crucial for device/user safety to have a dependable anti-virus installed and kept updated. This software must 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 "Internet Is A Dangerous Place" spam email letter:

Subject: Security status not satisfied.

I was planning to say hello, but now I think greetings are unnecessary.

Firstly, I already know you and all your loved ones very well.
Secondly, the occasion for which I'm writing to you is not the happiest one for a friendly greeting.

You've heard that the Internet is a dangerous place, infested with malicious links and hackers like me?
Of course, you've heard, but what's the point in it if you are so dismissive of your internet security and don't care what websites you visit?
Times have changed. You read about AI, judging by your browser history, and still didn't understand anything?

Technologies have stepped far forward, and now hackers like me use artificial intelligence.
Thanks to it, I can get not only access to your webcam and record your fun with highly controversial video
(I recorded it also, but now that's not the point), but also to all your devices and not only yours.
And I saved a special sauce for this dish. I went further and sent malicious links to all your contacts from your account.


Yes, someone was smarter and realized that this was a trap and you were hacked, but believe me,
about 70% of your contact list (and these are your friends, colleagues, and family) bought into my scam.
They have as many skeletons in their closet as you do. Some turn out to be hidden homosexuals...

I have accumulated and analyzed a huge amount of compromising data on you and those with whom you communicate.
Very soon I'll start a crossfire - everyone will receive the full history of correspondence
(and there are enough of "sensitive moments") and recordings from the other contact's webcam.
I can go further and put all these files, as well as the recorded fun of you and your hacked contacts with "hardcore videos" into the public domain.

You can imagine, it will be a real sensation!
And everyone will understand where it came from - from you.
For all your contacts and, you will be enemy number one. Even your relatives will take a long time to forgive you and forget such a family shame...


It will be the real end of the world. The only difference is that there will be not four horsemen of the apocalypse, but only one - (=
But there is no such thing as a completely black stripe without any white dots.
Luckily for you, in my case the "Three M Rule" comes into play - Money, Money and Money again.

I'm not interested in your worthless life, I'm interested in people from whom I can profit.
And today you are one of them.

That's why: Transfer $1390 in Bitcoin to: 1PPJpvSPbbMwbESJZXGS8VtKiFQkmm7DvK ...within 48 hours!

You don't know how to use cryptocurrencies? Use Google, everything is simple.

Once payment is received, I will delete all information associated with you and you will never hear from me again.
Remember one thing: my crypto address is anonymous, and I generated this letter in your mailbox and sent it to you.
You can call the cops, do whatever you want - they won't find me, my demands won't change, but you'll just waste precious time.

The clock is ticking. Tick tock, a minute out of 48 hours has passed right now. An hour will soon pass, and in two days your old life will pass forever.
Either goodbye forever (if I get my payment), or hello to a brave new world in which there will be no place for you.

Hasta La Vista, Baby!
P.S. Almost forgot. Finally learn what incognito tabs, two-factor authentication, and the TOR browser are, for God's sake!

Appearance of the "Internet Is A Dangerous Place" spam email (GIF):

Internet Is A Dangerous Place scam email (GIF)

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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?

Spam emails are not personal, even if they include details relevant to the recipients. This is also true if deceptive letters are sent from the recipient's inbox, as that does not give the claims made by the emails any credence. Cyber criminals distribute spam emails in massive operations – therefore, thousands of users receive identical (or incredibly similar) messages.

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

Information provided by sextortion scam emails is false. This includes claims regarding system infections, theft of sensitive data, recording of sexually explicit videos, etc. Hence, these letters pose no threat to recipients.

How did cyber criminals get my email password?

It is the most probable that your log-in credentials were acquired through a phishing scam. It is less likely that this information was obtained through a data breach on your end. And the most unlikely scenario is a breach to a service provider's network.

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

Cryptocurrency transactions cannot be reversed due to their practically untraceable nature. Therefore, victims of sextortion scams cannot recover their funds.

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

If you have provided your log-in credentials – change the passwords of all possibly exposed accounts and inform their official support. However, if the disclosed information was of a different personal nature (e.g., ID card details, passport scans/photos, credit card numbers, etc.) – contact the appropriate authorities without delay.

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

Reading an email is harmless; systems are infected when malicious attachments or links are opened/clicked.

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

Whether the device was infected might depend on the format of the opened file. Executables (.exe, .run, etc.) cause infections almost without fail upon being opened. However, documents (.doc, .xls, .one, .pdf, etc.) may require additional user interaction to begin downloading/installing malware (e.g., enabling macro commands, clicking embedded links/files, etc.).

Will Combo Cleaner remove malware infections present in email attachments?

Yes, Combo Cleaner is capable of detecting and eliminating nearly all known malware infections. Remember that sophisticated malicious software usually hides deep within systems – hence, performing a full system scan is essential to detection.

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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.

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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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