The “Your Personal Data Has Leaked Due To Suspected Harmful Activities” email is a scam that tries to trick you into thinking that your computer or phone is infected with malware and then threatens to make your personal data public. Contrary to the claims in the email, you haven’t been hacked (or at least, that’s not what prompted this email) and this is nothing more than a scam that tries to trick you into sending Bitcoins to these scammers. This is merely a new variation on an old scam which is popularly called “sextortion”.
This is the text of the “Your Personal Data Has Leaked Due To Suspected Harmful Activities” blackmail email, including the grammatical and spelling errors:
Subject: Your personal data has leaked due to suspected harmful activities.
Hi there! I am a professional hacker and have successfully managed to
hack your operating system. Currently I have gained full access to
your account. In addition, I was secretly monitoring all your
activities and watching you for several months. The thing is your
computer was infected with harmful spyware due to the fact that you
had visited a website with porn content previously. Let me
explain to you what that entails. Thanks to Trojan viruses, I can gain
complete access to your computer or any other device that you own. It
means that I can see absolutely everything in your screen and switch
on the camera as well as microphone at any point of time without your
permission. In addition, I can also access and see your confidential
information as well as your emails and chat messages. You may be
wondering why your antivirus cannot detect my malicious software. Let
me break it down for you: I am using harmful software that is
driver-based, which refreshes its signatures on 4-hourly basis, hence
your antivirus is unable to detect it presence. I have made a video
compilation, which shows on the left side the scenes of you happily
masturbating, while on the right side it demonstrates the video you
were watching at that moment… All I need is just to share this
video to all email addresses and messenger contacts of people you are
in communication with on your device or PC. Furthermore, I can also
make public all your emails and chat history. I believe you would
definitely want to avoid this from happening. Here is what you need to
do – transfer the Bitcoin equivalent of 850 USD to my Bitcoin account
(that is rather a simple process, which you can check out online in
case if you don’t know how to do that). Below is my bitcoin account
information (Bitcoin wallet): 12nEVuGNtRFMVjeVmLtD4nt2sHX68S47yH Once
the required amount is transferred to my account, I will proceed with
deleting all those videos and disappear from your life once and for
all. Kindly ensure you complete the abovementioned transfer within 50
hours (2 days +). I will receive a notification right after you open
this email, hence the countdown will start. Trust me, I am very
careful, calculative and never make mistakes. If I discover that you
shared this message with others, I will straight away proceed with
making your private videos public. Good luck!
The above email and anything it states is just a scam to try and scare you into paying the ransom. If you have received the “Your Personal Data Has Leaked Due To Suspected Harmful Activities” email, we recommend deleting it and under no circumstances send any money to these cybercriminals.
Is the “Your Personal Data Has Leaked Due To Suspected Harmful Activities” email real? #
No, and don’t panic. The “Your Personal Data Has Leaked Due To Suspected Harmful Activities” email is a scam that tries to trick you into thinking that your device or email has been hacked, then demands payment, or else they will send compromising information -such as images of you captured through your web camera or your pornographic browsing history – to all your friends and family. And in classic ransomware fashion, there’s typically a ticking clock. Giving users a short time limit to deliver the payment is social engineering at its finest.
Threats, intimidation, and high-pressure tactics are classic signs of a scam.
The “Your Personal Data Has Leaked Due To Suspected Harmful Activities” extortion email and anything it states is just a scam to try and scare you into paying the ransom.
They have my password! How did they get my password? #
To make the threats more credible, scammers may include one of your passwords in this email. The scammers have your password from sites that were hacked, and in this case, likely matched up to a database of emails and stolen passwords and sent this scam out to potentially millions of people. You can check if your email or password was compromised in a data breach on Haveibeenpwned.
If the password emailed to you is one that you still use, in any context whatsoever, stop using it and change it NOW. It’s also recommended that you enable two-factor authentication for your email and online accounts whenever that is an option.
Should I pay the ransom? #
You should not pay the ransom. If you pay the ransom, you’re not only losing money but you’re encouraging the scammers to continue phishing other people.
Delete the “Your Personal Data Has Leaked Due To Suspected Harmful Activities” email, and under no circumstances pay these cybercriminals a penny/dime/bitcoin.
What should I do now? #
We recommend that you ignore the content of the “Your Personal Data Has Leaked Due To Suspected Harmful Activities” email and delete it from your Inbox.
If you have downloaded any attachments or clicked on any links from this email, or if you suspect that your computer might be infected with malware, you can follow the below steps to scan your device for malware with Malwarebytes and remove it for free.
Check if you’re device is infected with malware #
The “Your Personal Data Has Leaked Due To Suspected Harmful Activities” email may contain malware within the attachments or links that appear in the body of the email. By interacting with the malware — for example, opening or downloading an attachment that contains a malicious payload — the user may unknowingly infect their device or network, enabling attackers to gain access to protected applications and data.
To check your computer or phone for Trojans, browser hijackers, or other malware and remove them for free, you run a scan with Malwarebytes Free.
Malwarebytes can run on Windows, Mac, and Android devices. Depending on which operating system is installed on the device you’re trying to run a Malwarebytes scan, please click on the tab below and follow the displayed steps.
How to protect yourself from malware attacks #
Here are 10 basic security tips to help you avoid malware and protect your device:
Use a good antivirus and keep it up-to-date #
It’s essential to use a good quality antivirus and keep it up-to-date to stay ahead of the latest cyber threats. We are huge fans of Malwarebytes Premium and use it on all of our devices, including Windows and Mac computers as well as our mobile devices. Malwarebytes sits beside your traditional antivirus, filling in any gaps in its defenses, and providing extra protection against sneakier security threats.
Keep software and operating systems up-to-date. #
Keep your operating system and apps up to date. Whenever an update is released for your device, download and install it right away. These updates often include security fixes, vulnerability patches, and other necessary maintenance.
Be careful when installing programs and apps. #
Pay close attention to installation screens and license agreements when installing software. Custom or advanced installation options will often disclose any third-party software that is also being installed. Take great care in every stage of the process and make sure you know what it is you’re agreeing to before you click “Next.”
Install an ad blocker. #
Use a browser-based content blocker, like AdGuard. Content blockers help stop malicious ads, Trojans, phishing, and other undesirable content that an antivirus product alone may not stop.
Be careful what you download. #
A top goal of cybercriminals is to trick you into downloading malware—programs or apps that carry malware or try to steal information. This malware can be disguised as an app: anything from a popular game to something that checks traffic or the weather.
Back up your data. #
Back up your data frequently and check that your backup data can be restored. You can do this manually on an external HDD/USB stick, or automatically using backup software. This is also the best way to counter ransomware. Never connect the backup drive to a computer if you suspect that the computer is infected with malware.
Choose strong passwords. #
Use strong and unique passwords for each of your accounts. Avoid using personal information or easily guessable words in your passwords. Enable two-factor authentication (2FA) on your accounts whenever possible.
Be careful where you click. #
Be cautious when clicking on links or downloading attachments from unknown sources. These could potentially contain malware or phishing scams.
Don’t use pirated software. #
Avoid using Peer-to-Peer (P2P) file-sharing programs, keygens, cracks, and other pirated software that can often compromise your data, privacy, or both.
Be alert for people trying to trick you. #
Whether it’s your email, phone, messenger, or other applications, always be alert and on guard for someone trying to trick you into clicking on links or replying to messages. Remember that it’s easy to spoof phone numbers, so a familiar name or number doesn’t make messages more trustworthy.
To avoid potential dangers on the internet, it’s important to follow these 10 basic safety rules. By doing so, you can protect yourself from many of the unpleasant surprises that can arise when using the web.