Beware Password Extortion Scam

Cyber criminals are attempting to blackmail unsuspecting victims by claiming to have used the victims’ password to install spying malware on the victims’ computer. The criminals claim they’ve recorded videos of the victim supposedly watching compromising material by activating their webcam when they visit these websites. What makes this scam so convincing is that the email usually includes a genuine password the victim has used for one of their online accounts, it is believed that the passwords are obtained through data breaches.

What to do if you get one of these emails?

Don’t reply to the email, or be pressured into paying. The police advise that you do not pay criminals. Try flagging the email as spam/junk if you receive it multiple times. Perform a password reset as soon as possible on any accounts where you’ve used the password mentioned in the email. Always use a strong, separate password for important accounts, such as your email. Where available, enable two-factor authentication (2FA). Always install the latest software and app updates. Install, or enable, anti-virus software on your laptops and computers and keep it updated.

If you receive one of these emails, report it to Action Fraud’s phishing reporting tool. If you have received one of these emails and paid the ransom, report it to your local police team.

  1. Check whether your passwords have been compromised at
    and of course back everything up regularly, especially stuff stored on the cloud.

  2. A friend got one, and it sent me on a round of research, antivirus scans etc.

    The important takeaway is…
    The password specified IS COMPROMISED IN A SEPERATE INCIDENT, so CHANGE IT IMMEDIATELY wherever used – a good reason for not using the same password all over the place. In my friend’s case, the only occurrence of the particular password seems to be a defunct dialup ISP.

    There is not much else to do – if you search for “removal instructions”, you are likely to find SCAREWARE products that will be happy to tell you there are MANY problems, but require payment to fix – and these dishonest products are best avoided

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