Cyprus’s police cybercrime unit is warning the public of a money extortion scheme, following complaints from people who recently received threatening emails.
According to local reports, internet users have received emails from unknown individuals asking for money, usually in the very secretive Bitcoin currency, in order not to publish private information and files that could be embarrassing or inappropriate for public viewing.
The scammers are telling people they obtained access to their computer through personal password codes and are able to access personal files. Possible targets could include media folders with private photos and videos, including gaining access and controlling a computer’s webcam remotely.
The scam typically involves email phishing, where an email address is disguised to appear as if it is coming from somewhere else, usually a reliable sender such as a bank, a utility company, or a website that asks users to enter their passwords.
A similar incident took place in the US, when Clinton 2016 presidential campaign chairman John Podesta clicked on a link in an email sent to him in a cyber attack, reportedly by Russian military operatives, meant to hurt Hillary Clinton and help candidate Donald Trump.
Paphos mayor Phedonas Phedonos may also have been the victim of cyber crime recently, when he made public comments on social media alluding to a possible cyber attack.
Phishing is defined on the web as the fraudulent attempt to obtain sensitive information such as usernames, passwords, and credit card details, often for malicious reasons, by disguising as a trustworthy entity in an electronic communication. Emails are often used as initial click bait to get users to trust the source.
Police say internet users should be suspicious of emails asking them to click a link that is requesting personal information. They are also warning people not to send money, and as always, contact the cyber police at www.cypruspolicenews.com. [Kathimerini Cyprus]