Blackmailing Bitcoin Scam Targets Porn Viewers, Cornell Professor Suggests It’s “Bluff”

Omar Faridi
  • A new crypto email scam attempting to extort $1,900 in bitcoin from porn viewers has surfaced.
  • Cornell professor Emin Gün Sirer shared the threatening email on social media

A new bitcoin scam has reportedly surfaced. In it, porn viewers are blackmailed by malicious actors who are attempting to extort $1,900 from the victims. The scammers are demanding to be paid only in Bitcoin (BTC). Through the use of malware, the scammers claim to have recorded footage of their targets watching porn.

The scammers begin to exploit their victims by first sending them an email that contains the users’ passwords or other private information. These passwords might have been obtained after company servers the victims use were hacked. They’re presented as “proof” that their computer has been compromised. At this point, whether or not the blackmailing videos even exist has not been confirmed.

Engaging in “CryptoBlackmail”

The scammers’ threatening e-mail further notes that a remote control desktop application has been installed on the porn watcher’s computer. This, the bad actors claim, allows them to remotely access the user’s computer and obtain video of them watching adult content.

Additionally, the scammers claim they have gained access to the user’s email contacts and that they will broadcast the compromising videos to everyone if they don’t get paid. They further offer “proof” by stating the footage will be sent to nine initial contacts if the user wants it.

To prevent this, the blackmailers demand $1,900 in BTC. Some analysts suggest this may all just be bluff. Cornell University’s computer science professor Emin Gün Sirer shared a copy of the emailhe said was forwarded to him by a friend.

tweet.png

Sirer called the scamming tactic a type of “cryotoblackmail” and advised the recipients of these emails to not send money to the scammers or engage in any type of negotiation with them.

Sirer, a well-known cybersecurity expert who accurately predicted a serious vulnerability in the Ethereum-based DAO in 2016, claims that the blackmailing message was likely sent to those subscribed to the haveibeenpwned list, which is compiled of databases from various well-known breaches.

Tom Lee: ‘In the Long Term’ Bitcoin Could Achieve ‘100X Increase in Price’

Siamak Masnavi

On Tuesday (February 18), Thomas Lee, Co-Founder, Managing Partner, and Head of Research at independent research boutique Fundstrat Global Advisors, gave an interview during which he presented his outlook on Bitcoin.

Lee's comments on Bitcoin came during a guest appearance on "MarketBrief", the weekly digital show, hosted by Caroline Woods, which was launched last November by Dow Jones’ Barron’s Group.

Woods started the interview by asking Lee to clarify his most recent price forecast for Bitcoin. Woods was referring to Lee's interview on February 10 on CNBC's "Power Lunch", where he said that he expected Bitcoin to reach $40,000 before the Dow Jones Industrial Average (aka "the Dow") reached this number. 

Woods wanted to know if Lee stood behind that forecast and why he was so bullish on Bitcoin.

Lee answered:

"Yes, and so that's absolutely our belief.

"Bitcoin is a network value asset, so the more people who hold it and find it useful the greater its price gain. It's really a log function. Today, about 500,000 people use Bitcoin. So, for it to quadruple, you just need to double the number of users."

Woods then asked Lee what he thought about those "parabolic bulls" who have come up with Bitcoin price forecasts as high as $250,000 or $500,000. 

Here, Lee came across as the most bullish he has ever been on Bitcoin:

"I think, in the long term, it's possible because today Bitcoin's transaction activity is twice that of PayPal, seven times Discover Network. 

"It's the second largest transaction network after Visa. And there's four billion Visa card holders; so if you get to ... five million Bitcoin users, it's almost a 100X increase in price."

Woods walso wanted to know why Minneapolis Federal Reserve President Neel Kashkari was wrong to say on February 11 during an interview that cryptocurrencies were a “giant garbage dumpster."

Lee said:

"I think that the current monetary system works quite well.

"So, it's not like I'm necessarily critical of how financial systems work, but too much money is paid to intermediaries. Today, roughly 6% of all GDP globally is paid to the financial system to manage trust.

Bitcoin's been around for eleven years. Has never had a single fraudulent activity on its blockchain -- $5 trillion of activity.

So, it works better than the traditional financial system, and the cost is vastly lower. Today, you can transmit a million dollars of Bitcoin between countries for $15. That same transaction using... remittance... would cost you five to ten percent of that. So, fifty to a hundred thousand [dollars]."

Next, Woods asked Lee what potential events could "derail" Lee's forecast.

Lee answered:

"Well, the future's uncertain, and and bitcoin would be destroyed if there was some sort of Proof-of-Work attack on its blockchain -- so somehow the blockchain became insecure -- it would lose all of its value.

"Governments could try to ban the off-ramping of Bitcoin. So to convert it back into fiat, they could tax it, or make it illegal. That would make it very difficult.

"So there's a lot of ways to kill Bitcoin, but look it's a generational thing... just like young people adopted the internet, young people are adopting cryptocurrencies."

Finally, Lee talked about the impact of the current coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak on Bitcoin:

"This isgood for Bitcoin because it's creating a asynchronous or, you know, idiosyncratic event that makes Bitcoin more useful. You know, China's trying to contain its market. People want to move money freely, there's geopolitical tensions, makes Bitcoin more useful, but... the coronoavirus, I think, is ultimately a non-issue globally."

On January 2030, Lee was a guest on CNBC's "Fast Money", where he explained why he felt that 2020 should be a great year for Bitcoin:

"Yeah, 2020 should be great for Bitcoin because you got number one the halvening happening -- the block reward for miners getting cut in half -- that's a good supply demand change.

"I think last year the White House killed the Bitcoin rally with their opposition, but with the presidential election cycle underway, it's not gonna be in the headlines, and that's bullish for Bitcoin.

"And then with geopolitical tensions in the Middle East, I think that's good for crypto... We're getting a lot more interest in it from our clients."

As for Bitcoin's remarks about Bitcoin breaking the 200-day moving average, what he was referring to is that, historically, whenever the Bitcoin price breaks above its 200-day moving average, the "win-rate" (over the next six months) increases to 80%, and means that Bitcoin is "re-entering" bullet market territory: