Monday, February 18, 2019

Subject line: You have been hacked!

I recently received a threatening extortion email; yet more proof that what the email scammers around the world really need more than money is English language instruction. Dear extortionists, here are some tips, using your own email as an example:

Hi There,

[This is an inexplicably folksy start. I would have gone with "Achtung" or maybe at least "Dear Sir or Madam."]

As you can see from the subject of this mail we have hacked your system. To demonstrate you we have COMPLETE access we have emailed you this e-mail from YOUR very own acccount. Look into the "From" mail address.

[Thank you. I would have never thought to look in the "From" mail address.]

We have downloaded all your social media friends, your files and your data to our server. We have COMPLETE access to your system for a few months now, 

["We have HAD complete access." This is a common mistake.]

this is because you check out mature internet sites 

[Mature! This is a great word choice. You figured out that if you use the word "porn," your email will go straight into my Junk folder. I have to give this one to you.]

and one of these websites was corrupted with a virus that mounted itself on your system, opening a backdoor to our server. 

[Amazingly, "Backdoor To Our Server" was one of the titles I was watching when you caught me. What are the odds?]

You can alter your password but it isn't going to help, our backdoor will always allow us FULL access. Don't stress, we will inform you what to do.

[Whew. Thank you. Not stressing. Inform me.]

Once in a while we activated your video camera and recorded some very exposing clips of you while you "satisfied" yourself (you know what we mean) enjoying mature content. We can forward those exposing videos to all your contacts (we posses them on our server) and basically destroy your social life and the relationship with your nearest and dearest. 

["Nearest and dearest." You have been reading Amish romance, haven't you?]

Consider the disgrace! I don't believe you want us to do that so we will give you a way out, a way that you can go on to live your life like this never took place.

[This never took place.]

When you opened this e-mail a disguised . pixel initiated a timer on our server, from now on you have six hrs (yes, only six so you better start without delay after browsing the instructions) to do the following below:

["Six hours" is good. First rule of sales, right? Create urgency. But a "disguised pixel"? You are sending me an email extorting money. Why pretend to disguise a pixel? It sounds like an idea from, like, the fifth guy in your hierarchy who you decided to humor because it's not as bad as his usual bad ideas, so why not throw him a bone?]

Below you will find our bitcoin address (copy/paste it with no spaces, it is case sensitive). We want you to transfer $575 in bitcoins to this address.

[A specific number is good when you are lying on a first date about how much is in your bank account. When demanding money, though, round numbers are best. $500 would have been a lot cleaner. Also, you DO understand that the current price of one bitcoin is $3,588, so I, what, I buy 1/6th of a bitcoin to send you?]

If you don't know how to make use of bitcoins you can use Google and search "How to buy bitcoins", it is quite simple and you can purchase them instantly.

[You might want to avoid putting Google in my head, because I might then naturally Google "bitcoin email hack scam."

If you do this inside of the given timeframe our server will notice the transaction to that address and the timer will quit counting. We will remove all the data we posses of you, 

[This is the second time you have spelled it "posses." Just for future reference, "posses" are groups of lawmen tracking down bad guys. Strunk & White, in their definitive writing book "The Elements of Style" would probably suggest the following alternative: "We will remove all the data we have of yours." Please consider the edit.]

terminate the backdoor on your system, and you will without doubt never ever hear from us again. 

[Again with the "backdoor." I sense a fixation.]

No one will ever know this occurred and you can proceed with your life. If you don't do this..... you are aware what is going to occur and you know what impact it will have on your life.

Our btc address: 1BKSFvjb46DZCw9AWibBzLjKPjsdubWmEt

[Wait wait wait. You guys used my password to for your bitcoin address?!]


[A final word of advice. "Good luck" is never hyphenated. Never. Even if I had believed you owned embarrassing footage of me, I would not have paid you just on general principle. I bet you think it's a "doggy dog world" too. Sir or madam, I bid you adieu and wish you well in your future endeavors, which you can hopefully find in a less hit-and-miss line of work that matches your skill set, like lobbying.]

Saturday, February 2, 2019