Malwarebytes recently received a report about a fresh spate of Bitcoin sextortion scam campaigns doing the rounds.

Bitcoin sextortion scams tend to email you to say they’ve videoed you on your webcam performing sexual acts in private, and ask you to pay them amount in Bitcoin to keep the video (which doesn’t exist) private. This type of blackmail has become quite popular since the middle of 2018.

Sextortion scammers frequently use spoofed or made up email addresses to contact their targets. Previous campaigns have targeted those with compromised account passwords scraped from third-party breaches, minors, and other vulnerable groups. In this case, our experts believe that these emails have been targeting .org email addresses, and senior leadership almost exclusively.

From: {spoofed sender name}

Subject: I have full control of your device

Message body:

Hi

Did you notice that I sent you an email from your address? Yes, that means I have full control of your device. I am aware you watch adults [sic] content with underage teens frequently. My spyware recorded a video of you masturbating. I also got access to your address book. I am happy to share these interesting videos with your address list and social media contacts. To prevent this from happening, you need to send me 1000 (USD) in bitcoins.

Bitcoin wallet part 1: 1C1FfgyNsJGJZfuR2ePXxTraa

Bitcoin wallet part 2: CqE6WLWSM

Combine part 1 and part 2 with no space between them to get the full bitcoin wallet.

Quick tip! You can procure bitcoins from Paxful. Use Google to find it.Once I receive the compensation (Yes, consider it a compensation), I will immediately delete the videos, and you will never hear from me again. You have three days to send the amount. I will receive a notification once this email is opened, and the countdown will begin.

What we may perceive as a-dime-a-dozen, cookie-cutter blackmail email may be something new to someone, especially those who aren’t aware of such a charade. Make no mistake: Email scams that contain little to no threats towards recipients have worked repeatedly like a charm.

This is why it’s important to keep up with what’s happening in cybersecurity, how online threats affect aspects of our lives, and how we can better protect ourselves, our data, and the people around us from those who scare, threaten, and bluff their way into our wallets. Treat all emails like this with a healthy amount of skepticism and you should be able to really see the email as it truly is: a fake.

Malwarebytes has extensively written about Bitcoin sextortion scams through the years. And what we advised then is still relevant to these new sextortion scams.

Change your passwords—or, better yet, consider using a password manager to help you create and store more complicated passwords for you.

Always use multi-factor authentication (MFA) to add an extra step of security. Most companies with an online presence have this, so make full use of it.

Do not pay the scammer.

If you received a sextortion email at work, let your IT department know. If you’re in the United States, feel free to report this to the FBI’s IC3.

Our Director of Mac and Mobile, Thomas Reed, had drafted a post aimed at Mac users who have received such scammy emails but need guidance on what these are what they need to do.

Stay safe, as always, and remain vigilant.


Bitcoin addresses related to this scam (as of this writing):

  • 1Nd3JST1daeyzmPovkRoemjysA6JfXjVRg
  • 17qBCU7Y5yrS9eimxvydRYw3XNF9meuSCY
  • 1C1FfgyNsJGJZfuR2ePXxTraaCqE6WLWSM