If you write a blog, you wlll be only too familiar with the constant stream of spam comments, advertising drugs, porn and cheap trainers, among many other things. In the last few days, my spam bucket has gathered something more sinister: blackmail threats and ransom demands.
Here’s an example:
Your computer, email and smartphone are hacked. We have all your photos, personal correspondence and access to bank accounts.
On June 3, we will post on the Internet and send to all people who you have in contacts and social networks all your photos, correspondence, access to bank accounts and payment systems.
You will be sued and the police will be interested in your person.
A ransom is worth 1 Bitcoin.
Pay 1 BTC until June 3 to our bitcoin wallet: 1LNcUGLunEpDMo4sxNAgAKAGk8eAddTGW
More serious, perhaps, are those which threaten to send vast amounts of spam messages purporting to come from my site, including links to illegal content, with the intention of getting this site blacklisted and banned. When I receive another of these, I will post it here as an example.
Like all spam comments, these are essentially untraceable, using forged or stolen email addresses. I suspect attempts to ‘report’ these would fall on deaf ears, and without any useful links to their perpetrators, it’s hard to imagine what anyone could do.
If you receive these, please don’t be tempted to send them money. A bitcoin may not seem much, but think what you’d be doing. Suppose you did give them a bitcoin. What do you receive in return? What guarantee have you that they won’t keep on demanding more money? All you have is their word. And from what they threaten to do, I wouldn’t trust them with a bargepole.
I did think of offering them half the income this blog generates, in return for ‘protection’, after all this is just another form of protection racket. And I know that this blog, being completely free, generates not a penny in income. I don’t think they’d be amused.