I received three emails this week claiming my email account had been hacked and that due to a large amount of nonsense and a touch of bullshit, they had videos of me watching porn. They stated that unless I pay a bizarrely specific amount in bitcoin they would send this video to all my contacts. I didn’t pay, so presumably, all my contacts can now effectively edit together a wanky medley featuring all my best moments.
I first suspected that the email may well be a scam as the first message said “Hi ______” the ______ being my entire email address. Those of you with enough technical savvy to actually breach my email will discover that it is clearly my first name followed by my second name, so it does not require a great deal of detective work to better personalise the message for better authenticity. Cybercriminals are just lazy.
The next bit that tipped me off was when the message said, ‘I hacked this email account more than six months ago’. To prove they had indeed done this, rather than say, attach a screenshot of my inbox (into which they could also inject some ransomware or cryptomining malware), they chose to tell me the password I used approximately two years ago. They had the foresight to hastily add that even if I changed it they’d know about it through their dastardly technical wizardry. However, I change my password on an extremely regular basis, as I tend to keep forgetting it and have to get my provider to text me a new one, before changing it and promptly forgetting it again, so I doubt even they’d be able to keep up. They said that, through my email account, they managed to install malware on my machine that allowed them to keep tabs on me, and most importantly watch me through my webcam.
If this were true I would feel nothing but pity for them, as they’d have had to have watched endless clips of me turning on my laptop, opening word to write my magnum opus, only to then sigh and close my laptop again. However, it’s not true, because that’s not how it works! One, my email account is, in fact, sat on a server elsewhere in the country. I only tend to read email on my phone or my work computer, so how they managed to suddenly get malware to leap onto my laptop is anyone’s guess. I assume they just watched that episode of Black Mirror and thought ‘there’s an idea.’
What they should have said was ‘I took advantage of the poor security levels of the porn site you visited and injected malicious code into one of the scripts which downloads malware onto all clients that connect to the site.’ That’s far more believable.
Then came the kicker:
‘I have access to all your accounts, social networks, email, browsing history. Accordingly, I have the data for your contacts, files from your computer, photos and videos. I was most struck by the intimate content sites that you occasionally visit. You have a very wild imagination, I tell you! During your pastime and entertainment there, I took a screenshot through the camera on your device, synchronizing with what you were watching. Oh my god! You were so funny and excited!’
I won’t go into how ‘I have access to all your accounts,’ includes social networks (of which I use very few) and how the email started by stating the fact that my email account had been hacked, so of course they had access to my email, which would also be covered under ‘all your accounts’. Wait – I just did.
I actually quite enjoyed reading it as it sounded like I was being taunted by a classic Bond villain in the full throws of a good monologue. Incidentally, I will now be referring to masturbation as ‘pastime and entertainment’. It’s also good to know I was funny, I must have opted for the chicken suit that night.
However, one of the biggest issues I have so far, is that it certainly wouldn’t have taken then six months to get the video they were after. I would very much have been an easy win for them. Being lonely and ever so horny, they’d probably have got what they were after in a good half an hour.
Then they started with the threats, if I didn’t pay them precisely $843.75 worth of Bitcoin, they would send the videos to all my contacts. They severely overestimated the number of contacts I have. I’m sure the four people (and that one guy I emailed once by accident due to a typo) wouldn’t be all that surprised to receive an email of me bashing one out. They have frequently told me that I’m a wanker (well, everyone else has been making that joke). The email asked me whether my employers would be pleased to receive the images and a breakdown of my search history. Whilst pleased is probably not the word I’d use, I doubt they’d mind too much. Firstly, I have a fantastic taste in porn as the scam email clearly points out.
I tested the waters by sending out a mass email on Monday saying, “FYI, it’s probably a scam, but there’s a small chance you might receive a video of me masturbating.”
I promptly received several responses of people saying, “I didn’t know we were allowed to do that?” and one saying, “Okay, here’s one of me shitting.”
Strangely enough, reports estimate that some scammers have earned over $50,000 through this scam, proving that a lot of people have been watching some dodgy shit and have a guilty conscience or, despite the 60s, people are still very hung up on the fact they have sexual desires. We can’t let everyone know we’ve been wielding the fleshy staff. Everyone will be disgusted. We’ll be shunned from society. We won’t be allowed back in church.
What I want to know is, how do so many people have Bitcoins. I wouldn’t be able to pay even if I was duped. I have no idea how to go about getting a Bitcoin. I know it involves using CPU to ‘mine’ for strips of code that are subject to artificial scarcity and this code is deposited into ‘wallets’.
The genius behind it is the marketing. Calling it Bitcoin. It makes it sound like it has worth. When really it doesn’t. Yet it does. But it doesn’t. Yet it still definitely does.
It relates to nothing physical. There is nothing behind it, other than code that can be mathematically proven to be ‘unique’. Why this grants it the power to buy goods is beyond me. Because it’s untraceable (apparently), it’s good for criminal shit. But why? Why sell drugs for lines of code with no inherent value? To buy more drugs? To sell for more valueless Bitcoin? To buy more drugs… or maybe some form of weapon, to better defend your drugs and bitcoin.
It’s weird how anything has value so long as enough people agree on it and keep believing it. The whole global economy is based on faith. Apparently, money is still loosely based on gold. But there’s not enough gold to account for all the money floating around. In fact, there’s not enough money to account for all the money around. It’s all just numbers on a screen. And those numbers tell us that £1 is slightly better than $1, just because everyone says so and we all believe it because everyone says so and therefore it does.
The world is a weird place.