Cyber crooks diversify their victims' list

Online scammers drop the gloves to IT experts

Not only ordinary users but cyber security experts are targeted by scammers

This time the article will not be about latest ransomware threats, but another profitable money extortion technique – online and email scams. Cyber security professionals warn that the felons keep assaulting users with more persuasive sca.m techniques. Surprisingly, they target not only gullible netizens and company employees but take a risk by challenging their opponents – IT experts.

Levelling up: targeting malware researchers

While malware developers exclusively prey on credulous users to make a profit, it seems that some felons enjoy some thrill and target a “stronger opponent” – the “white hat” hackers. One such recent scam targeted a Swiss IT expert, the owner of

The assailers threatened to launch a massive DDoS attack on the developer’s site unless he pays them 5 bitcoins. Perhaps little did they know who they were targeting.

Blackmailing and adult-content scams remain popular

Recent spam cases reveal that blackmailing users with their confidential information remains a popular “technique” among cyber crooks. Recently, more than 33,500 Australian and French netizens have received an email[1] from unknown senders urging to pay a specific amount of bitcoins or click on the attached videos. Usually, such videos are supposed of pornographic content. Usually, scammers target victims with the following subject lines[2]:

  • Соnсеrning оur yestеrday's соnvеrsаtion.”
  • I havе sоmеthing that can mаке yоur lifе wоrse”
  • I would not liкe tо start our knоwing aсquаintаnсе with this”
  • I'm not hаpрy with yоur behаvior lately”
  • Dont yоu thinк thаt your deviсе wоrкs wеird?”
  • I think thаt it is not as funny for you as it is funny for mе”

Companies, stay alerted!

Big corporations should not let their guard down as well. Felons pretend to be the employees of a national tax or another official institution and target specific companies workers to wheedle sensitive information, such as name and social security data.

Some racketeers even bother to create phishing sites of W-2 tax-filling forms[3]. Such emails bombard users at the time of tax season.

Online scams will only increase

It is certainly naïve to think that such form of a cyber felony will ever stop. Since the emergence of the first computer virus, racketeers have only manifested more subtle and persuasive hacking and deception strategies. Thus, it is of utmost importance to be vigilant. Speaking of scam emails, take note of the following aspects:

  • grammar mistakes and typos
  • phishing sites contain altered company’s logo
  • in blackmail emails no specific information is provided

Some security tools include anti-spam and anti-phishing features. So if you want extra protection, you might enforce the cyber security with such software, but bear in mind, when battling scammers, you have to collect all your wit and vigilance to stand your ground against felons.

About the author
Julie Splinters
Julie Splinters - Anti-malware specialist

Julie Splinters is the News Editor of 2-spyware. Her bachelor was English Philology.

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