SCAM Email Demanding Ransom
My email has been inundated with more scam emails than I care to count. All threatening me with a RAT virus. The one that got my attention was the one referencing this website. I reached out to my support team to ensure it was secure and that there was protection against RATs.
The emails state that because you visited a site, more of them reference porn sites and stating that you are now infected with a RAT virus. A ransom is demanded and instructions on how to pay by BitCoin. Very kind of them to provide instructions on how to find the instructions.
What is a RAT virus?
If you do a search for the term “rat virus” you will receive a mix of results. Health advisories, news of people being infected by a rat virus, both health and computer types, and information on what a rat virus is.
RAT is an acronym for Remote Access Trojan. There are a variety of these in circulation and just as many organizations with instructions and tools to remove them.
Variety of RATS
Much like the rodent, there are various versions of RATs. However, they are not cute, interesting, or can they be kept as pets. They are a threat to your computer health.
Some of the most common ones reported include:
- Sakula it provides remote access to the victim’s computer providing the author access to sensitive information.
- KjW0rm this trojan creates a back door on the victim’s computer, allowing for information to be sent back to the originator
- Havex is a RAT for industrial organizations. Very hard to detect.
- Agent.BTZ/ComRat this one uses advanced forensic tactics.
This is a brief of the more extensive information and list located at Dark Reading. Education is key to security.
How do I become infected?
When you open a link in your email, visit websites, you are open to infection. But don’t freak out, not all websites are contagious. Not all links in emails are threatening.
Emails contain links to documents, pics, websites, videos and audios. Majority of your email comes from friends who send jokes, inspirational videos, and photos. Even the ones from your friends and family can be infected.
Clicking the link takes you to the contaminated site. While you are browsing, watching a video, listening, or reading, the RAT is installed quietly in the back ground.
When you send that email on as a forward, the next person repeats this procedure. Much like spreading a cold or flu virus, we continue to contaminate.
If you frequent porn sites, it is possible to become infected. But I have not found reports to suggest it. Does not mean it won’t happen. You will end up with a multitude of SPAM, junk email, possibly malware and spyware. You would be paying for more than a view.
The Email Threat
Following is an email I received again, recently. My software marked it as SPAM..
***SPAM*** This account has been hacked! Change your password right now!
You may not know me and you are probably wondering why you are getting this e mail, right?
I’m a hacker who cracked your devices a few months ago.
I sent you an email from YOUR hacked account.
I setup a malware on the adult vids (porno) web-site and guess what, you visited this site to have fun (you know what I mean).
Do not try to find and destroy my virus! (All your data is already uploaded to a remote server)
– Do not try to contact with me
– Various security services will not help you; formatting a disk or destroying a device will not help either, since your data is already on a remote server.
I guarantee you that I will not disturb you again after payment, as you are not my single victim. This is a hacker code of honor.
I removed the majority of the email because it was not necessary for further details. There were instructions to pay by Bitcoin, instructions on how to find the instructions through Google to pay the ransom. And further threats of this information being sent out publicly.
What is wrong with this email? Well it seems very threatening. If I regularly clicked links in emails, especially to porn sites, I might take it serious. The other issue is, my video camera is never plugged in.
They can spoof your email to make it look like you were hacked. If you have not been keeping up to date on the latest hacks, it is possible the password is valid. In most of these emails you will see your password and email.
Everything in this email is possible. However, unlikely to have happened. Sites are commonly infected with some form of malware. Unless the site owner is up to date on protection and scans regularly. Websites may be set up to seem legitimate but in fact are designed to trap and reek havoc on unsuspecting individuals.
Where does it Come From?
Breaches have been happening on a regular basis. Read the latest regarding Facebook hacks, the latest one used the “view as vulnerability” to hack and steal user photos, info, posts. Now profiles are being cloned.
Other hacks include LinkedIn, Healthcare.gov, banks, television stations, newspapers, and a variety of other sites. Your information is not safe. The threat level has increased.
Your email, passwords, and other information are being sold on the Dark Web. Even now as you read this. How do you protect yourself?
*** The time it takes to secure your devices and remain secure, is an investment in your security. Call me direct, 619-438-0765 (voice or text), or you can use my Contact page to reach out.
You are Your Best Security Measure
Companies are cleaning up by offering you security, monitoring and legal assist in clearing up your identity. There is no better security than you. Having said that, I must also include there is no security in this world to protect you from being hacked, your identity stolen, and your information sold to the highest bidder. Sounds pretty daunting?
What can you do? A few suggestions I have offered and finally took to heart myself.
- Change your password. DO NOT USE THE SAME PASSWORD ON YOUR ACCOUNTS.
- Use a generator to create a secure password.
- The longer the better, numbers, letters (upper & lower case), symbols. Suggested max for those sites that allow for long passwords.
- Make it unrecognizable.
- Bears repeating:
DO NOT USE THE SAME PASSWORD ON YOUR ACCOUNTS.
- Create an ID that has nothing to do with your name. Not easy, still working out a few to use.
DO NOT USE THE SAME ID ON YOUR ACCOUNTS.
- Create a notebook, index card, spreadsheet to log your ID’s, passwords and even the link to the login page of the site. (mine has the name of the site, link, id, pw, notes, pins, security questions w/answers.)
- Security questions are all too common, so lie in your answers. If you followed suggestion 2, you will have a record of them.
- Add a password tool to your browser, one password to remember and you are all set. I like McAfee’s True Key. You can make notes regarding your security questions. Since nothing is ever that secure, I don’t.
- Add a good virus program to your computer, even a MAC. There are some freebies and some inexpensive ones. Again I am partial to McAfee. Has yet to fail me, but….
- Computer maintenance is important
- Keep your software up to date.
- Create a back up of your computer. Store it on an external drive. Update it regularly.
- Do not install software you are not familiar with. All that glitters is not gold. Just because it offers some fancy, attractive services, does not mean it is good. Many freebies come packaged with ads, malware, spyware, etc. Research, ask questions.
- Clean up the junk.
- Disk Clean up is a great tool, but leaves things behind.
- McAfee offers a disc cleaner, shredder, but again, some items remain behind.
- Manually remove those items that are left behind, check the path of where the cookie or tracker is located. Look at the properties, which program is in connected to? Turn that program off, then delete it if you decide to get rid of it.
- Software specifically made to clean up spyware and malware is available, again research, because they come with added nuisances as well. Free and upgrade options are available, make sure it will pair with your antivirus.
- Set up two step authentication. Make sure the number you use is also secure.
- The same security steps include your computer, laptop, tablet, phone, and all your smart devices in your home and car.
- Check the Remote Access settings on your computer. They are set to allow techs to access your computer at anytime. Turn it off until needed.
- Blue Tooth is not secure, if you are not using it, turn it off.
There are so many more steps I could include here. Again: You are your own best security resource. Get educated about the devices you use, learn, stay informed about the threats and possibilities.
Do not live in a state of panic and worry however. Once you put everything into place, it is time to consider what you will do should you be hacked and your identity stolen. I have listed a few suggestions. But, do not take my word for it, search and research.
**** A 15 minute consultation and you are on your way to securing your devices. Call or text me direct, 619-438-0765, or you can use my Contact page to reach out.
Security Resources to Consider
There are a variety of services available to assist you in securing yourself against the threats of the Internet. It is a wild world out there. What has been shown in TV crime shows is not far from the truth. Even creative fiction has a home in reality.
This is not a complete list. It is a mix of information on DIY identification and removal, as well as services offering protection from infection.
I am not endorsing or recommending any services in this article. That is your job to research, learn, and decide which will work for you.
This is an article from UUFIX about detecting a RAT virus, one of several you can find available. Each offering a variation to finding the virus.
Comodo AntiVirus Services provides information about what a computer virus is and antivirus software to protect your computer. (I do not know enough about the software to make a recommendation. Review for your own edification.)
PC Malware Security offers more information regarding the
MnuBot RAT virus and how to remove it.
The How To Remove Guide offers you instructions on how to detect and clean your computer.
This resource includes a few names of RAT viruses that are circulating. Young Upstarts provides a name, description and of course a link to an antivirus service.
To Sum Up
This is not an inclusive article by no means. The threats, scams, security resources could fill a dozen books.
I like to consider myself a critical thinker. I examine all aspects, research, educate self, and disseminate the information accordingly. I have been known to share too freely that information, being accused of over thinking a thing.
I cannot speak for anyone else, just me. I would rather take the time to secure myself, including the steps that seem like such a hassle, than to find later I have to endure the hassle of cleaning up the mess an identity thief, hacker, or scam artist created.
Pay now or pay later? A few moments of hassle to sign into my accounts versus being ripped off.
What are your thoughts on this? Have you taken the time to secure yourself on the Internet and WiFi/Blue Tooth highway? Or are you one of the mind that it happens to others, not to you?
Ready to learn? I provide tutoring, services to teach you how to take care of yourself so you do not have to pay someone else. It takes less time than you think to secure your devices and remain secure. Call me direct, 619-438-0765 (voice or text), or you can use my Contact page to reach out.