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Bitcoin blackmailers threaten to expose videos of victims watching porn

The crooks are believed to have raised nearly £255,000 so far

Cybercriminals are trawling social media for victims to blackmail for Bitcoin – threatening to expose them watching porn.

A gang of ‘sextortionists’ targeted 89,000 people on sites including LinkedIn, according to UK cybersecurity firm Digital Shadows.

They are believed to have raised nearly £255,000 across 92 Bitcoin addresses, reports the Express.

Sextortion-based email campaigns seek to extort victims by threatening to publicly embarrass them for engaging in a sexually explicit act.

One of the emails reads: “I placed a malware on the adult video clips (porn) web site and… you visited this website to have fun (you know what I mean).

“I made a double-screen video. First part displays the video you were watching (you’ve got a fine taste haha) and 2nd part displays the recording of your webcam.

“I believe, $1,900 is a fair price tag for our little secret. You’ll make the payment through Bitcoin.”

They claim to have evidence and use previously exposed passwords as “proof” of compromise.

Recruitment campaign

The report also found veteran extortionists are trying to recruit co-conspirators, promising salaries of more than £23,000.

Posts on message boards and forums claim new recruits can make a decent living through cyber-sextortion scams directed at high-worth individuals like executives, lawyers, and doctors.

Rick Holland, CISO and head of the Photon Research Team at Digital Shadows, said: “The research shows that cybercriminal groups are increasing their targeting of high-net-worth individuals and / or those that hold positions of power within companies.

“Many threat actor groups are actively on the recruit for members to collaborate with and to help them scale their operations.

Holland continues: “Widespread and opportunistic extortion campaigns are also lucrative.

“The social engineering aspects of these emails prey upon the recipients and entice them into paying the extortion amount.

“Unfortunately, our analysis of a select number of the campaigns shows us the criminals have amassed over $300,000.

“Education and minimising your personal and professional online exposure are essential for thwarting the goals of extortionists.

“Since the lines between our personal and professional lives are so blurred, firms should educate their staff and tell them never to pay out a sextortion request.”

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