Have you ever received an email addressed to you, saying “This account is now hacked!”  It has your correct email address.  It might even look like it was sent from your own email address!  Was it?  No.  This is a fake email.

The fake email will go on with more claims: a hacker who has “opened your email and devices”, installed some “special program” on your computer, that the hacker has been monitoring your video watching activities, that he, the hacker, is tracking every password modification you do.  All fake news.  Don’t fall for it.

How did the hacker do it?  This is relatively easy to do.  The hacker just has to generate an email with the scary message, then he uses hacker tools to modify the behind-the-scenes parameters in the email heading.  He spoofs his own email address to become yours, then sends it off.  And dozens or hundreds more.  This is a fishing expedition: it might take a lot of bait to catch a fish, but at the end of the day, he only needs one catch of the day.

Usually, the perpetrator makes a demand of payment in bitcoin, so that the money trail is hidden.  Don’t fall for it!

What do do?  Delete immediately.  That gets it out of your sight.  Then be assured the hacker has not cracked into your computer, tablet or smart phone.  That didn’t happen.  Your email account is safe.  If you are still nervous, you could update your email account password, which only you should know.  But that step is totally optional and would not have blocked the fake email from arriving, anyway.  There are email filters you could set up, but the body of the hacker’s email is an image, not text, so text filtering would be ineffective.  There might be some tools available from software companies to block such messages.  Do make sure your own anti-virus software and email filter software applications are up to date.

And rest easy.  Your email box is not threatened.  Time to get back to working on your family studies and enjoy.

Jim Benedict – AFHS Webmaster