Cybercriminals got $332,000 in Bitcoin through ‘Sextortion’ scam
Digital Shadows, one of the major companies specializing in eliminating digital risk and exposure, has released an extensive report on the most ‘profitable’ scams in 2017 and 2018. ‘Sextortion’ scam was put at the spotlight, highlighting outrageous numbers – over $332,000 in Bitcoin paid during 2017 and 2018 to the scammers as ransom. How did they manage to do it?
In the report, Digital Shadows extensively explains all of the favorite tactics the scammers usually use. According to the released data, ‘Sextortion’ scammers pretend they have the data and the footage from the webcam, showing a victim watching adult content online. The scammers then make contact with the victim, and state that if they don’t transfer a specific Bitcoin amount in ransom, that footage would be publicly released.
According to Digital Shadows, ‘Sextortion’ turned out to be one of the major recent scams involving cryptocurrency. To achieve a ‘profit’ of $332,000, scammers sent almost a million emails. $332,000 was sent from 3,100 unique Bitcoin addresses, and were deposited to 92 addresses, which belonged to scammers. Further analysis shows that ‘sextortionists’ were getting on average $540 from each victim.
What’s impressive about this particular scam is the extensiveness of it. According to the released report, the cybercriminals had their scheme developed on a global scale, with servers located throughout at least five different countries, with the highest volume coming from Vietnam (8.5 percent), followed by Brazil (5.3 percent), and India (4.7 percent). To make victims believe the hackers had their data, they were provided with one of their known passwords first.
Notably, the Digital Shadows also reported ways of how hackers were looking for their accomplices across the globe. Their primary goal was to find high-net-worth individuals with high salaries. In exchange, accomplices who would be willing to provide contact info of such people, were offered salaries as high as $360,000-$768,000 a year.
In the report, Digital Shadows also provides a piece of advice on how to protect yourself, as well as your business and personal data against malicious digital attacks of any kind. The full report can be accessed here.
Only during 2018 alone, over $1 billion in cryptocurrency was lost to hacks and scams worldwide, and this amount includes only reported cases, with 56% of them registered in the U.S.