Have you got a disturbing email from a hacker with your password? Please don’t panic; I’ve got your back.
There’s something alarming and shockingly personal when you get an email from a hacker who claims to have compromised your computer and has the password to prove it. But take a deep breath, all is not as bad as it seems: here’s exactly what you need to do next.
So, you’ve got an email from a hacker with your password?
The two most common email pleas for help that land in my inbox are those from people who are convinced their smartphone has been hacked and people, mostly women, who a hacker has emailed with their password. Of the latter, the emails they are talking about seem increasingly to have “Day of Hack” in the subject line, along with a password that has, indeed, been used by the recipient.
That more women than men contact me for help is not surprising given that the sender of the email, the supposed hacker, also claims to have a compromising video of them due to being able to control their computers and webcams. Yes, we are talking about sextortion again, a particularly nasty method of trying to extort bitcoin from victims and one that is showing no signs of going away any time soon. Indeed, these scams seem to have surged somewhat during the pandemic, perhaps looking to leverage the raised anxiety levels that have been visited upon so many of us.
The ‘Day of Hack’ sextortion threat
While sextortion scams to evolve and details change over time, the Day of Hack script has now become a permanent fixture. So-called thanks to the broken English subject line that reads: “I know [your password] is one of your password on day of hack.” The password that is cleverly included in the subject line to grab the attention and create fear in the recipient is, indeed, a password known to them. Whether you have received a Day of Hack email or any variation, dealing with it remains the same. I’ll get to that in a moment, first let’s look at how this supposed hacker knows your password in the first place?