Australian nationals targeted by scammers who threatened to post intimate footage from Zoom calls
An rise in destructive digital attacks targeting Australians has been recorded, with pornographic email that can be highly persuasive.
Rising attempts to trick victims of digital "sextortion" happen most often via an email threatening the recipient with the release of Zoom video the sender says is a recording of them masturbating.
Approximately 60,000 blackmail attempts were made against Australians in January, as compared to December, when the number was 12,000, according to global digital security firm Avast.
The Australian internet service provider (ISP) Avast blocked 59,100 attempts to commit different kinds of fraudulent sexual acts last month. This is the third highest in the world. A total of 122,838 US blockades were thwarted, while 97,546 Italian blockades were thwarted.
The sex scammers use the same email to send out to victims, saying they have videos from a Zoom video call that left an audio record of the victims in the middle of an intimate act.
The email claims to have the video in their hands until they obtain a payment of $2,000 in Bitcoin within 48 hours. Zoom has not been found to be vulnerable.
According to the scam text, the subject matter is “unfortunate news” with “a zero day security vulnerability in the Zoom app.
The scam email writes, "In your worst nightmares, I have shot some footage with you as a starring actor, where you perform a sex act." As long as you are having fun, it's cool with me, but it's not OK with your credibility.
I don't want you to blame yourself or me for this. There's no way you could know the camera is working... I can't believe you'd want to look silly in front of your friends, family, and colleagues.
“Please make sure you're absolutely clear on this. I will send the footage to all of your contacts if I don't get paid.”
AUTHORS ARE ASKED TO BE ON THE LOOKOUT FOR GRAMMATICAL Mistakes, AS ATTACKERS MOST Frequently Emerged IN NON-ENGLISH SPEAKING COUNTRIES AND USED GOOGLE TRANSLATE. Marek Beno, a malware analyst for Avast, recommended that people should remain calm regardless of the "dirty trick" perpetrated on them.
“Sextortion scams are inherently dangerous and upsetting,” said Mr. Beno. Cyber criminals, most likely, saw a huge opening during the COVID-19 pandemic, when people spent more time online on Zoom and in front of their screen.
We recommend that recipients remain calm if they receive such a message in their inbox, and ignore it. This is just a tactic used by cyber criminals to try and get your money.
The high numbers in the month of January were triggered by a peak that occurred on January 15th. It is assumed that the perpetrators restarted because they had information that possible victims would return to work after the holidays.
Their theory is based on the fact that they discovered a large spike in the number of sextortion emails after January 11th.
Many email attacks say that a Trojan was recently installed on the victim's computer, and all the victim's past acts were recorded with a microphone and a webcam.
Additionally, it is asserted to have gathered all data from computers, such as chats, social media, and contacts.
The attackers ask for a ransom in cryptocurrency, as well as including a false deadline. But Mr. Beno, however, implored recipients not to panic.
According to Mr Beno, the threats in this case are all phony. Nothing is registered, attackers do not have your info, and Trojans cannot be undetectable.
Beno recommended that if individuals who had received an attempted scam did not respond or pay money to the perpetrator, they could change their passwords to be longer and more complex.