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.

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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.

Bitcoin Trading Into USDt Nearly Tripled in March, CryptoCompare Data Shows

  • Bitcoin trading into USDT nearly tripled in March according to the latest CryptoCompare report.
  • Investors fled bitcoin for fiat and stablecoins throughout March's crypto market crash.

Bitcoin trading into the stablecoin USDt nearly tripled in March as the entire market underwent volatility in response to the coronavirus pandemic. 

According to CryptoCompare’s March 2020 Exchange Review, investors trading BTC for USDT nearly tripled in March as the price of bitcoin underwent its largest intraday losses on Mar. 12, falling as low as $3,800. 

The report reads details that BTC trading into USDt nearly tripled to 21.6 million BTC, up from 7.7 million BTC in February. It adds that the BTC/USDT market now represents 73% of the total BTC traded into fiat currency or a stablecoin.

Investors also rushed to exchange bitcoin for fiat, as trading into USD and JPY surged to 2.7Mn BTC (170% increase) and 1.8Mn (132% increase), respectively.

cryptcompare march 2020 fiatVolume trading for fiat and stablecoins during March 2020 | Source: CryptoCompare

Stablecoins USDC and PAX overtook the BTC/EUR and BTC/KRW in terms of total volume traded into BTC during the month of March. The BTC/PAX market, in particular, underwent an increase of 153% last month, trading 1.35Mn BTC vs. 0.67Mn BTC in February.

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