For every real criminal out there, there will always be a phony riding on the coattails of his success.
This is especially true when it comes to the vast and largely uncontainable dark web, where everyone’s success is someone else’s newest scam.
This has been the case in some of the unchartered areas of the internet where racketeers have jumped aboard the fake ransomware train which, in recent days, has brought them some business.
Normally, legitimate ransomware requires a fee to eradicate from the victim’s computer, an amount that is usually payable in Bitcoin for privacy reasons.
These insurgent racketeers are adopting the same extortion of Bitcoin payment, but with just one crucial modification: they do not deploy any ransomware.
A number of people have already been bombarded with fake threat emails demanding an amount in Bitcoin, failure to which would lead to grave consequences.
While the traditional ransomware threat demanding Bitcoin is capable of remotely deleting files or infecting it with viruses, these racketeers are banking on panic and rash decision-making to keep their businesses thriving and Bitcoin flowing.
The Fake Threat Emails are poorly written; sent en Masse
Fake ransomware racketeering is on the rise.
The emails demanding Bitcoin are usually authored in poor English and often contain threats to leak private information if the Bitcoin ransom is not paid.
These Bitcoin extortionists lie to their victims that they possess sensitive information which, when leaked, would destroy reputations.
Since the emails are sent en masse, the practice is not an exact science; its success largely depends on sheer luck and the law of averages.
One of these fake ransomware emails has surfaced.
The extortionists demand a ransom of 1 Bitcoin and appear to have covered every angle in the email, since it also contains information on how to buy Bitcoin and how to make the payment.
A quick analysis shows that the Bitcoin thieves rely on this single email, seeing that they send it to a large number of individuals at a time in the hopes that at least one or two will take the bait.
Recipients of such emails are advised to simply ignore them.
However, this does not mean that all Bitcoin demanding ransomware emails should automatically be discounted; some may actually carry a real threat to the victim.
Some Ransomware Threats Should Be Taken Seriously
Calling to mind the case of the infamous Ashley Madison breach, it is easy to see how much damage some of these extortionists can inflict.
As usual, the case involved blackmail attempts and ransom demands in Bitcoin in order to resolve the matter.
Just to enforce the gravity of the situation, the blackmailers carried out their threats on several of the users.
Nevertheless, when approached by ransomware extortionist who demands Bitcoin in payment, the prudent thing to do is to not pay them.
As risky as that might seem, one should also consider the fact that these petty cybercriminals are not exactly upstanding citizens who will remove the ransomware as soon as you pay the Bitcoin ransom.
And for those who find themselves in the grasp of a Bitcoin-hungry extortionist, there are a number of free ransom removal tools at your disposal, not to mention assistance from the local authorities.
Also, people should refrain from opening strange or unexpected emails, whether they come from reputable sources or otherwise.
Cybersecurity firm Cyren once detected malware that was being spread using emails supposedly from various reputable banks.
Once opened, the malware is usually engineered to auto-install in order to steal information or infect your computer in other ways.
As such, prevention seems like the best option in this scenario.
Employing enough safety measures and caution to prevent becoming a victim is by far the best way to avoid being encumbered by such a situation.