Cyber Crime has been taken to a whole new level. The latest scam is Cyber Blackmail and according to the police, it's a serious problem.
The extortion scam, which is believed to have surfaced one year ago, indiscriminately targets anyone on the corporate ladder with a PC connected to the Internet. It usually starts with a threatening e-mail in which the author claims to have the power to take over a worker's computer through an exploit in the corporate network, experts said. The e-mail typically contains a demand that unless a small fee is paid -- at first no more than $20 or $30 -- they will attack the PC with a file-wiping program or download onto the machine images of child pornography.
"They prey on the nice secretary who wouldn't do anything wrong. When she gets one of these e-mails she thinks 'Oh, my goodness what am I going to do?' So she puts it on her credit card and transfers the funds to the (suspect's online bank) account and hopes it goes away," a British detective specializing in cyber-crime told Reuters.
The officer advised against cooperating with the fraudsters. "If a person pays up, say it's just 20 euros, then they have identified a soft target. They may come back for more, next time demanding more money." In the annals of cyber-crime, investigators acknowledge the racket is one of the most difficult to crack. Because the ransom is small, people tend to pay up and keep quiet. Police said the number of cases is tailing off but because it so often goes unreported, there is little evidence the crime is actually in decline.
Read more about this from Reteurs here.
This is actually similar to a prank mail that got me into trouble a couple of weeks ago. (Although I wasn't in it for the money!) My friend, Sppadic, wound me up by sending me some mail about how I'd been surfing illegal websites, and that I was going to be held criminally liable. I didn't panic too much, but later in the day, Sonu 'confessed' his sins to me, and introduced me to the world of Prank Mail.
So, my boss being on leave, and me being bored....I began to send prank mails to people in the office.
Day 1 went pretty well, had fun with three guys who were so scared went they came to meet the IT guy (which unfortunately happened to be me), and I wound them both up a bit before I let them know it was me. The mail went like this :
Dear Sir,It has come to our attention that you or someone using your IP address have registered and/or visited several illegal pornography web sites within the past three months and have downloaded federally prohibited material. Although pornography itself is not illegal, these pictures, documents and films are prohibited from travel across interstate lines. As most internet traffic violates these federal and state statutes, your actions are considered in violation of Code 7 of the Electronic Decency Act. As of the first day of this month, all traffic that originates from your email address or associated Internet Protocol Address will be logged and reported to the proper authorities. We will also be notifying your ISP and will be reviewing their logs as well.This email is to notify you of the measures that are being taken. Please cease and desist all activities of this nature. We will contact you with further information or serve a subpoena if the situation warrants.
Please contact your ISP or network administrator if you think this mail was sent in error. However, this is highly unlikely, as the tracking technology we use prevents such errors from occuring.
Internet Protector Incorporated
The website allows you to see replies from your victims, so I had loads of fun winding them up....unfortuanately, I can't show you the mails. Anyway, that was fun.
Day 2: And I tried a different twist. Sent this mail out to two people (Boredom is a mutha!):
I know this will be hard to believe but please listen. I (you) am sending this to you (me) from the future. I just want to make sure that we are on the same page here. I (you) want to succeed. Just thought I (you) would drop a line and tell you(me) to be aggressive. It will pay off big time. Peace,And made it appear that it was coming from their email address !! And WOW, were they spooked or what? The first guy came to see me, and I told him it wasn't possible for someone to have hacked his email address. He replied the mail, and I scared him SO BAD with the replies......before I confessed to him what I had been doing. He almost strangled me, I had him thinking he was going crazy.........(LOL).
Unfortunately, the second person was also just as scared, and she also came to ask for advice, I did my usual winding up and she went straight to the HR head to report the mail. A few hours later, I was called into her office, and asked to 'investigate' the mail. I promptly confessed that it was me (didn't have a choice, did I?) and recevied a tongue-lashing. I was told I had committed a sackable offence......blah, blah, blah......
Anyway, to cut the long story short, I'm still here, albeit I'm now a retired prankster. And for those of you I pulled the prank on, I've still got your replies.........(Boso does the evil laugh....fade to black).