Don’t be alarmed if you get an email with the subject “your-email: password” (insert YOUR email and YOUR password). It may be your email and you may recognize the password. “Don’t be alarmed??” you exclaim! In all likelihood, it’s a VERY old password. It may still linger on some websites that you don’t use any longer. THESE ARE WELL KNOWN ’email scare tactics’. But even if you haven’t changed passwords in years, this is not real. Well … let me explain.
At times there have been huge security leaks. Think “Adobe’, ‘PayPal’, ‘Ebay‘, ‘Yahoo’, ‘Linked In’, ‘MySpace’. There are actual databases (files of information) with email addresses, passwords and other personal information that was gleaned from the leaks mentioned above. Spammers access these ‘publicly available’ files to spam and scare the heck out of us.
If you read the actual email, it will make you think …. hopefully for just a second (wink, wink). This particular email says they got your email and password from all of the pornographic websites you have visited! It goes on to threaten to send emails to all of your contacts showing all the websites you have visited. Some even claim to have webcam video of you. The purpose (?), money of course. If you pay them upwards of $1,200, usually in bitcoin, they will not tell all of your friends what you’ve been up to.
Please understand THIS IS NOT PERSONAL! They are spamming millions of people hoping to scare a small fraction of them into paying their ransom. Now hopefully your spam-filter keeps these from your inbox, but if you see this make sure you mark it ‘SPAM’. You really don’t even have to read it.
It is not real …
BUT, if you ARE still using some version of that password, this would be a REALLY good time to change it.