The Internet Crime Compliant Center (IC3) recently released a public service announcement about a possible link between data extortion scams and several recent breaches.
According to the announcement, hackers are e-mailing victims of the breach and threatening to release their personal information to friends, family, coworkers, and social media contacts unless they pay a ransom.
Hackers attempt to force the victims to pay them using Bitcoin, a largely anonymous online form of currency. Ransoms can be anywhere from $250-1200.
If you have received any emails like those described in the PSA, here’s what you should do:
- Do not open any emails or attachments from unknown senders.
- Do not communicate with the sender.
- Immediately contact your local FBI office and place a report with the IC3 at ic3.gov. Include the phrase “Extortion E-mail Scheme,” the bitcoin address, and the e-mail itself, along with any other relevant information you may have.
Here are a few tips for social media and e-mail you can employ right now to help protect you and your network:
- Upgrade to strong, memorable and hard-to-crack passwords for all your accounts.
- Remove all sensitive information and photos of yourself from social media and your phone.
- Make sure all information you upload to the Internet is through a secure channel with a URL that begins with https.
Find more tips for online safety on our blog or in the PSA.