A new sex drive uses robots to send large-scale emails with threats to victims. The botnet, nicknamed Phorpiex, is capable of sending up to 30,000 messages per hour and can affect up to 27 million people. The criminal scheme was announced by cybersecurity company Check Point last Wednesday (16) and has already grossed more than $ 110,000 (about $ 456,500, in direct conversion).
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As with other sextape scams, criminals claim to have recordings made while users watch porn movies and threaten to spread the intimate videos. The difference is that in this case they use a robot to send more emails and reach a larger number of people. Phorpiex uses a spambot to download a database of email addresses from a command and control (C&C) server. The robot then selects a random recipient and writes a threatening message, demanding the payment of a bitcoin ransom so that the alleged intimate images of the victim are not released on the Internet.
Sextorso blow sends message by bot and makes millions of victims Photo: Pond5
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According to Check Point research, the database used by Phorpiex includes leaked passwords next to the corresponding email addresses. The combination of credentials works like a letter from the criminals' sleeve and can be included in the message to persuade the victim to pay for the alleged ransom.
"The victim's password is usually included in the email message. This aggravates the threat because it shows that the password is known to the attacker. To shock the victim, the message starts with a sequence containing the password," explain researchers Gil Mansharov and Alexey Bukhteyev in the Check Point study.
Also known as Trik, the Phorpiex botnet has been active for over ten years and currently operates on over 500,000 infected devices. In the past, the threat was used by criminals to distribute malware and mine cryptocurrencies from contaminated hosts. Sexorso scams, however, are a form of recent revenue generation.
In the five months that Check Point monitored the threat, transfers of more than 14 bitcoins to cybercriminal portfolios were recorded. Currently, the value of the account exceeds $ 110 thousand (about $ 456,500, in direct conversion).
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