If you receive an email from a purported hacker claiming to have access to your operating system, don’t plunge headlong into following their instructions.
The hacker theme has always been associated with mystery and coolness. The numerous movies and news outlets have been further cultivating this sense over the years. While many people don’t necessarily think of hackers as an obvious black, a slew of email scams that splashed onto the scene during the whole cryptocurrency hype can change this perception. The irony is that the operators of these frauds only impersonate tech-savvy computer geniuses while orchestrating their bluff campaigns. One of the most widespread hoaxes from this category is based on messages whose introductory phrase goes, “I am a hacker who has access to your operating system”. Okay, stuff happens and cyber-attacks are a real threat, but the gist of this spoof email isn’t restricted to simply letting the recipient know that their machine has been compromised. The sender additionally emphasizes that the unauthorized control of the device has allowed them to compile nearly incriminating materials about the user, and this information will be made public unless a ransom is paid.
There are several versions of this scam in rotation and they mainly differ in the email subject. Although the deviations are minor, this is a clue that multiple crews of rogues are playing dirty in almost the same way. Here are the most frequently used subjects out there:
- Security Alert. Your accounts were hacked by a criminal group.
- Security Notice. Someone has access to your system.
- High level of danger. Your account was under attack.
- Access to your account in my hands.
- Your account has been hacked! You need to unlock it.
The impostor claims to have deposited malware onto the victim’s computer via an adult website, which is a technique often reported as an entry point for harmful code. The infection is allegedly a Trojan that allows the attacker to gain a foothold in the system, see what’s on the screen, turn arbitrary features on or off, and run any processes the crook wants to. Among other things, the malefactor says they can switch on the webcam and microphone and retrieve information about all of the prey’s contacts. The bait, though, is yet more intricate. The self-proclaimed hacker purports to have had a sneak peek at the victim when he or she was watching some content on an X-rated site. Having recorded this, the fraudster has supposedly compiled a video of what was going on and now threatens to send it to all email and instant messenger contacts as well as the person’s pals on social networks. According to the ne’er-do-well, the only thing that can stop this leak from happening is a ransom. Here is the full text of the scam message:
I am a hacker who has access to your operating system. I’ve been watching you for a few months now. But the fact is that you were infected with malware through an adult site that you visited.
If you are not familiar with this, I will explain. Trojan Virus gives me full access and control over a computer or other device. This means that I can see everything on your screen, turn on the camera and microphone, but you do not know about it.
I also have access to all your contacts and all your correspondence from e-mail and messangers [sic].
Why your antivirus did not detect my malware?
Answer: My malware uses the driver, I update its signatures every 4 hours so that your antivirus is silent.
I made a video showing how you satisfy yourself in the left half of the screen, and in the right half you see the video that you watched.
With one click of the mouse, I can send this video to all your emails and contacts on social networks. I can also post access to all your e-mail correspondence and messengers that you use.
If you want to prevent this, transfer the amount of $747 to my bitcoin address (if you do not know how to do this, write to Google: “Buy Bitcoin”).
My bitcoin address (BTC Wallet) is: [scammer’s BTC address]
After receiving the payment, I will delete the video and you will never hear me again.
I give you 48 hours to pay. I have a notice reading this letter, and the timer will work when you see this letter. Filing a complaint somewhere does not make sense because this email cannot be tracked like my bitcoin address.
And please do not try to answer me (the sender’s address is automatically generated).
I do not make any mistakes!
If I find that you have shared this message with someone else, the video will be immediately distributed.
The ransom is $500 worth of Bitcoin. The pseudo-hacker provides their BTC wallet address in the misleading email so that the victim knows where to submit the buyout amount to. To pressure the user, the con artist says the deadline for making the payment is 50 hours, the countdown starting from the moment the message is received. Once the criminal sees the incoming sum, their promise is that the video will be deleted with no further demands. So much for the logic of this extortion. Some people run the risk of falling for it because the email may look like it came from the victim’s real and valid address. Plus, there are scenarios where the swindler actually mentions the password for the recipient’s email account. Both of these tricks give the scam a more credible look and feel. Pair this with the statement that the user has been watched for a couple of months – and the threat might appear true-to-life as that’s a period of time long enough to harvest quite a bit of sensitive information.
At this point, the best thing to do is to ignore the whole blackmail. It’s a fake that isn’t based on any genuine compromise. The fact that the sender may know your credentials is easy to explain. Ever heard of data breaches? It’s when some web service such as an email provider is exploited and the account info of the users is stolen. This data tends to be leaked into the cybercrime underground once in a while, which explains how the crooks could have obtained the password. By the way, in many situations, the confidential information is way outdated. The person may have used the password years ago and it has been changed ever since. One way or another, “I am a hacker who has access to your operating system” scam should not be trusted, and the most reasonable way to handle it is to send the message to the trash without a second thought. However, just to make sure there is no security issue with your computer that may have encouraged the fraudsters to choose you as one of their targets, consider checking it for malicious software.
Automated removal of malware related to “I am a hacker who has access to your operating system” scam
Owing to an up-to-date database of malware signatures and intelligent behavioral detection, the recommended software can quickly locate the infection, eradicate it and remediate all harmful changes. So go ahead and do the following:
1. Download and install the antimalware tool. Open the solution and have it check your PC for PUPs and other types of malicious software by clicking the Start Computer Scan button
2. Rest assured the scan report will list all items that may harm your operating system. Select the detected entries and click Fix Threats to get the troubleshooting completed.