Hackers Blackmailing Porn Viewers Have Reportedly Made Nearly $1 Million in Bitcoin

Hackers blackmailing porn viewers by claiming they’ve got videos of them watching adult content have reportedly managed to make nearly $1 million worth of bitcoin thanks to victims who pay up.

According to a reportpublished by cybersecurity firm Area 1, scammers sending victims a threatening email telling them they’ve caught them watching pornography and will leak the video to their contacts unless they pay a bitcoin ransom, have been having success.

In an email shared by Cornell University professor Emin Gün Sirer the hackers claim to know users’ passwords, and claim to have made a “double-screen video” that shows the video the person was watching, along with them watching it thanks to a recording of their webcam.

In reality, security experts claim the hackers don’t have videos of the victims they target, but are merely trying to scare them into paying up. So far the scam appears to be working, as Area 1’s report reveals they’ve made $949,000 worth of bitcoin through it, with the average payout being of $593.

To get their messages past email filters, scammers are reportedly pasting “lines from Shakespeare or Jane Austen in invisible text” in their emails. As Gün Sirer noted in his tweet, victims shouldn’t pay the BTC ransom, as the hackers are contacting those who have had their email accounts breached in the past.

On the haveibeenpwnd website, users can look into whether their data has been leaked in large-scale security breaches. To get to their victims, scammers use this type of leaked data, which includes their email accounts and the passwords they’ve used on the services that suffered the breach.

Then, they tell victims their password, hoping they are indeed reusing passwords. Fortune reports the porn-related threats are one of three variations of email blackmail scammers have been using. Other forms reportedly include claiming they’ll destroy the data on victims’ computers, or they’ll attack them at their workplace. A security researcher has tied the attacks to a seasoned cybercriminal who was behind large security breaches in the past.

Bitfinex Wants to Offer 100x Leverage For Crypto Derivatives Trading

Michael LaVere
  • Bitfinex will offer 100x leverage trading for cryptocurrency derivatives
  • According to the exchange's CTO, the hedging product is "ready for prime time"

Cryptocurrency exchange Bitfinex revealed it wants to offer derivatives products with up to 100x leverage for cryptocurrency traders. 

Hedging On Cryptocurrency Derivatives

Chief Technology Officer Paolo Ardoino told The Block on June 25 that the cryptocurrency exchange was ready to ship a 100x leverage product for certain users. According to the post, the project has been under development for some time and is “now ready for prime time.” 

The product was referenced in last month’s whitepaper published by Bitfinex for its $1 billion private token sale of LEO, stating

“Qualified Bitfinex account holders will be able to trade a new hedging product through a derivatives wallet.”

The whitepaper originally claimed that the new hedging mechanism would be released by the end of June, a timetable that fits with Ardoino’s “ready for prime time” statement. 

Ardoino confirmed that only “verified” customers will be allowed access to the product, given the risks involved in such highly leveraged trades. 

The CTO also took to Twitter to quell user concerns over Bitfinex’s existing 3.3x margin trading. Ardoino explained 100x leverage will be “optional,” and that their current leveraged trading products will be unaffected by the release. 

Big Risk, Big Reward

Bitfinex is looking to compete with rival exchange BitMEX, who already offers 100x leverage through its bitcoin perpetual swap contract. However, Bitfinex claims its product is designed as a legitimate hedging tool for clients, rather than a gambling mechanism. 

Max Boonen, CEO of trading firm B2C2, believes the product will only appeal to retail hedgers, as large investors will shy away from the risks involved in 100x trading. 

According to Boonen, 

“There’s nothing wrong inherently about 100x. But as a commercial hedger you want lower leverage margin. The larger investor wouldn’t want to take the risk of 100X, typically. They don’t want to go balls to the wall.”

The cryptocurrency derivatives market has been heating up. Last week bitcoin-bull Mike Novogratz’s Galaxy Digital announced plans to offer cryptocurrency options contracts.

Binance has also reportedly been exploring futures trading. On June 24, Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao tweeted the exchange had executed its first margin liquidation for a BTC short.