Don't Pay the Ransom
April 2019 – by Per Christensson
Over the past few months, I have received a slew of emails stating, "Your account has been hacked!" Most of these were clearly bogus emails with no personally identifying information. Then I received a few similar emails that included an old password I used for some online accounts. That got my attention.
I'm pretty serious about security, using Ethernet instead of Wi-Fi at home and making sure I always use secure email with my laptop and smartphone. So it's unlikely a hacker obtained my login information from one of my personal devices. However, like millions of other people, some of my personal information was exposed in a data breach a few months ago. I confirmed at least one of these breaches included an old password.
Now at least once a week I receive an email saying something like:
"As you may have noticed, I sent you an email from your account. This means that I have full access to your account. I've been watching you for a few months now..."
The text above is followed by more threatening language, such as the hacker has been using my webcam and tracking the sites I visit on my computer. These are all false claims. The email ends by stating that, in order to prevent more leakage of my information, I need to pay a certain amount via Bitcoin to the hacker's BTC Wallet.
If you ever receive a message like this, do not pay the ransom. Why? Because:
These emails might look legitimate and they might be even appear to be sent from your own email address. But don't worry — these fake emails can be sent by even novice hackers using a technique called email spoofing. Don't get duped by scammers. The best way to handle these types of emails is to simply click Delete.