1

The hacker said they have access to my contacts, social media, and that they've also installed a keylogger onto my system. They want money.

The Gmail email header says:

Similar messages were used to steal people's personal information. Moreover,Gmail could not verify that this message actually came from xx.xx@gmail.com. Avoid clicking links, downloading attachments, or replying with personal information.

This is what the security on Gmail says:

security: vodafone-ip.de did not encrypt this message Learn more

The hacker also stated one of my older passwords, and it is right. But I changed that password almost an year ago.

I try to keep all my passwords different, and just changed my Google password. How is this possible? If it is needed, I can post the full message

Edit: the email also says that they have installed a Trojan keylogger to my computer (mac). Should I be worried? I was thinking of factory resetting it just to be safe.

  • I used MalwareBytes as suggested, and it deleted some files such as IronCore/ssinfo.plist (if I'm remembering correctly). I have no idea what these are.
  • I read the email once again, and this is a line from it: "I studied your love life and created a good video series." Thing is, I don't have a love life, so it's probably a scam.
  • It's probably related to forbes.com/sites/kateoflahertyuk/2019/01/17/…, so it's not likely they actually hacked your account. They are probably trying to get you to enter your new Google password into a phishing site. – jonsca Jan 25 at 2:07
  • @jonsca No it is not related to that forbes article; these kinds of mails have intensified some 3 months ago. They are bogus. They used old login information from old breaches, many people who receive them remark that these passwords are not currently valid. – Jan Doggen Jan 25 at 13:45
2

I've recently got a few of these emails along similar lines, while there is some variation to them they typically claim to have hacked your account and threaten to release data if a ransom isn't paid. They haven't actually done so, just hoping that people will send them money.

This article gives a reasonable overview of the scam:

  • Did you recently receive an email with one of your old passwords in the subject line and a request for bitcoin? It’s a new kind of scam.

  • The sender says they have used that password to hack your computer, install malware, and record video of you through your webcam.

Basically, the attackers don’t actually have video of you or access to your contacts, and they haven’t been able to install malicious code on your computer. In reality, they’re taking a password from a database that’s available online, sending it to you, and hoping you’re scared enough to believe their story and send them bitcoin.

And suggestions for keeping safe:

... good ideas to keep yourself safe: use long and strong passwords, get a password manager to ensure each account has a unique password, and turn on two-factor authentication on your important accounts.

  • Thank you for your answer. I changed my password, logged out from all devices, and enabled 2FA authentication. I also installed MalwareBytes and it did scan and delete some threats (see edit in answer). Is there anything else I can do? I plan to get a password manager. – themthem Jan 25 at 4:57
  • @themthem all good steps - the main thing to note from my answer is that it is highly unlikely that you were actually hacked, this is an attempt to extort money by sending the same email to 1000s of people (I've had at least three variations of it in the past week). – John C Jan 25 at 4:59
  • 1
    Just something else to add, I copied the bitcoin wallet ID to this website, and it says that this wallet has been known as a scam for "sextortion" – themthem Jan 25 at 13:20
  • I too have seen multiple emails in the past week that looked like they came from my own email address on my own private domain. They asked for bitcoin to these addresses: 1GVgsTh6j1oh5PUksWQDdiChtsRiWwkR6Q and 1JRfE57ZF8Eaqa7DktHmVCoAneA8q4fpP2. bitcoinwhoswho.com has notes that both are scams. – Ryan 2 days ago

Your Answer

By clicking "Post Your Answer", you acknowledge that you have read our updated terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy, and that your continued use of the website is subject to these policies.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.