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cyber security blackmail email

Anatomy of a Threatening Email

This is going to save you a lot of worry, grief and maybe even money!

Below is a threatening email I received today. And it’s not the first one I have received.

Threatening emails are pretty common now, usually poorly executed, and sometimes successful in extorting money from people! It comes in various forms, but the gist is the same. They want to scare you into paying them money.

I’ll let you read it for yourself, and then I’ll explain a few things.

Email Content From a Blackmailer

malicious email example

The Reality is… It’s Total B.S.

So here are a few things to note…

  1. First I want you to know that I don’t look at porn.
    And whether you do or not doesn’t have anything to do with their process. They say this as a standard threat because so many people do look at porn. If you don’t know any better you may think you’ve actually been caught in the act. You haven’t.
  2. Notice the little “ticks” over several letters?
    This was either written in a different language and converted, or their character settings aren’t quite right for the English language. And of course there’s the grammar! Clearly English is not their first language.
  3. I love the content in the P.S.
    “I guarantee you I will not disturb you after payment.” Instead of P.S. it should have said B.S.! I do know of a couple of people who have fallen prey to these evil people and indeed they were hit several times over. “Honor hacker” my a$$! There is no such thing. Never believe a blackmailer!
  4. And then this part:
    “Don’t hold evil. I just do my job.” Aw, he thinks I’m stupid. Please don’t feel sorry for a blackmailer. They lie like liars who lie!
  5. Now here’s where you have to pay attention.
    The password in the subject line is indeed a real password I used… about 8 years ago! Someone who had my information got hacked; that information was stolen and then placed on the dark web for sale (or maybe for free, but probably not). This is a HUGE reason why you should change ALL your passwords every few months. Making your passwords lengthy and difficult is super important! But in this case, even if it was both of those things, it would still get leaked. Long or short, the hackers, or people on the dark web would still have it. You have to change them regularly!

Read this statement from Bitcoin: AVOID SCAMS
If you’re ever afraid to click a link, then simply go to the website yourself and find the article you wanted to read.

Maintaining a different password for every account you have is difficult. I used to keep a spreadsheet of everything and it just got out of control. After a lot of reading, talking with others and general research, I finally started using a password manager about 5 or 6 years ago. And I have never looked back. I use LastPass but there are several out there now. 1Password is considered one of the best and most secure. I think Microsoft now offers one.

When I first heard of these password managers, I was concerned that it would get hacked and someone would get ALL my CURRENT passwords. And there have been a few vulnerabilities over the years, but these companies have been vigilant to plug holes and keep things locked down with up-to-date code.

So I have one password to rule them all (a little nod to Lord of the Rings). I just have to know my login and password to the “Vault” where the passwords are all held. I also have 2 Factor Authentication (2FA) set up so when I do access LastPass, I get a code texted to my phone to verify it’s me. And that password is actually encrypted on my computer, not off in the cloud or on someone else’s server. To this point, I have not had any problems!

But however you choose to keep your passwords, please put reminders in your calendar to go in and change your passwords every other month. If that feels overwhelming, then at least do the major important ones like banks, credit cards, and any accounts that have access to your finances or social security number.

So have you ever received a blackmail or ransom email? If so, what did you do about it?

About Cathy Sirvatka

Cathy Sirvatka is the founder of Sirvatka Creative Services Inc., and owner of Voice Over Web Design and Web Design For Speakers. Cathy has been designing and developing websites for almost two decades. She brings all her experience and knowledge to your project.

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