Online Sense is ICDL Arabia's philanthropic arm aimed at raising public awareness on Cyber Safety.

Online criminals are now running a new software to figure out the first 3 characters of email account passwords to blackmail users, and demand Bitcoins as ransom.

As part of this alternative mode of extortion, the criminals shoot a message to the victim with the first 3 characters of their passwords as a way of convincing them they’ve already gotten access to their email content. In reality, it’s entirely possible that they don’t have the whole password!

Incidents of scared victims paying the extortion amount due to such ‘hacks’ have been reported in the region.

In one such blackmail attempt, an Asian man received a message from a miscreant that his email account has been hacked. The victim got scared because he had in his email account a few funny videos of his boss, shot secretly to send to his colleagues. When the ‘hacker’ threatened to publish his personal messages and pictures online unless he paid him with Bitcoins, the victim became wary that his boss would come to know about the videos.

Certify your team in cybersecurity before your company is hit by a cyberattack

According to experts, the ‘hackers’ may use anything against the victim when they get their personal content or pictures. The gullibility of some individuals makes them easy targets of such hacking threats.

In another incident, a woman who privately saved a few snaps taken during a wedding received a note that her email password was hacked. Investigators examined her mobile and informed her that she was a victim of fake hacking.

Always stay safe

  • Avoid accepting friend requests from strangers
  • Do not open suspicious links
  • Abstain from giving money to strangers who befriend you online
  • Don’t express your interest in schemes or offers, online
  • Block suspicious accounts and steer clear of communicating with them even if they provoke or threaten you
  • Inform the authorities and save threatening messages as evidence

Don’t share your details – including email address and phone numbers – on social media networks