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.

Electric Capital: 'Monetary and Fiscal Stimulus Is Hastening' Crypto Adoption

  • Early stage crypto venture firm Electric Capital says government monetary and fiscal policies are expediting mainstream adoption for cryptocurrency. 
  • The firm highlighted a long term erosion in trust for fiat currencies coinciding with an increase in trust for cryptographic processes. 

Early stage crypto venture firm Electric Capital claims that recent monetary and fiscal stimulus has hastened bitcoin’s adoption. 

In an investor update, the firm argued governments around the world are hastening adoption for cryptocurrency with their unprecedented monetary and fiscal stimulus initiatives. 

The firm explained that bitcoin is emerging as a potential store of value versus the U.S. dollar. While some detractors say bitcoin’s short term correlation to U.S. equities has undercut its potential as a store of value asset, Electric Capital called this a “straw-man argument.”

The report reads, 

As we regularly state: Bitcoin is not a store of value today relative to USD. It is a potential store of value, as it has many (though not yet all) of the characteristics of an excellent store of value.

The report continued, highlighting bitcoin’s value as a hedge against inflation, fiat devaluation and government seizure. The firm also pointed to bitcoin’s proven track record as a store of value relative to distressed emerging market currencies, emphasizing its popularity in the hyperinflation zones of Latin America and Africa. 

The investor update claimed to be optimistic about bitcoin’s long-term potential as a store of value and argued recent market developments have increased the likelihood of bitcoin’s broader adoption. 

According to the report, government monetary and fiscal stimulus policies are trending towards a long term "collapse in trust" in existing financial markets and fiat currencies. Simultaneously, Electric Capital reports a long term trend increase in trust in cryptographic systems, on which a new store of value can be developed. 

The report reads, 

Trust in governments is at all time lows, a global recession looms, unemployment will hit historic highs, government debt-to-GDP is at all time highs, dollar denominated debt payments in emerging markets loom, and many are worried about the scale of government stimulus.

The investor update concluded by saying long term data suggests an increase in global concern over an unsustainable economic path, which may drive people and institutions to consider cryptocurrencies as an alternative. 

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