If it wasn’t bad enough extortionists threatening to release sex videos of you, or claiming you were a member of an adultery website, or that your name has been mentioned as part of an investigation into an international child abuse ring, now blackmailers are trying a different technique.
As Bleeping Computer reports, scammers have contacted websites demanding a ransom message be paid or else they will ensure the site will be blacklisted for aggressive spamming activities.
Extortionists have sent an email to websites, demanding that 0.3 Bitcoin (approximately US $2,400) is paid or else the website will suffer potentially catastrophic damage to its reputation.
Part of the email, which has the subject “Abuse and lifetime blocking of the site – example.com. My requirements”, reads as follows:
Here is a list of what you get if you don’t follow my requirements:
+ abuse spamhouse for aggressive web spam tens of thousands of negative
+ reviews about you and your website from angry people for aggressive
+ web and email spam lifetime blocking of your hosting account for
+ aggressive web and email spam lifetime blocking of your domain for
+ aggressive web and email spam Thousands of angry complaints from angry
+ people will come to your mail and messengers for sending you a lot of
+ spam complete destruction of your reputation and loss of clients
+ forever for a full recovery from the damage you need tens of thousands
+ of dollars
In the email, the blackmailer claims that he or she will post 30 offensive messages to the contact forms hosted on 13 million websites. In addition they say they will send 300 messages offering a free iPhone to nine million email addresses – with each email containing the victim’s website URL and contact details.
The intention? To get the targeted website domain blacklisted:
“After such spam, the spamhouse will turn its attention on you and after several abuses your host will be forced to block your account for life. Your domain registrar will also block your domain permanently.”
For an individual such a threat would be worrying enough, but the threat would probably give many a small or medium-sized business palpitations too.
The good news, of course, is that just because it’s easy for an extortionist to make a threat it doesn’t mean that they are necessarily going to follow through with it. Scams like these are typically sent to a lot of people in the hope that a small percentage might actually cave in to the demands and pay up.
The truth is, however, that there is no real incentive for the extortionists to follow through with their threats – after all, one thing is certain… if they did succeed in blacklisting your website there is no way you would ever pay them in future.
Chances are that the typical wannabe blackmailer will simply ignore you if you don’t reply, and move on in the hope of finding a website that is more likely to give in to the demands.