Sextortion Scam: Hackers use convincing information to extort money

"Sex-tortion" scam knows your password

(WXIX) - A frightening new scam just surfaced in a big way. This one is scary enough and detailed enough that people are falling for it.

Imagine getting an email from someone who says they've gotten into your computer, and recorded you through your web cam. They threaten to expose potentially embarrassing behavior if you don't pay up - and throw in some convincing details to make the threats scarier.

According to Krebs Security researchers, this scam first surfaced in mid-July and is spreading fast.

Here's how it works: The victim gets an email from a hacker who says he's gotten into his computer, and used the victim's webcam to record a video of that person watching porn. The hacker says they'll release that video to all of the victim's contacts, unless they pay a ransom.

To make this all seem legit, the hacker includes a real password - previously tied to the victim's email address.

Krebs researchers say those passwords were likely stolen in database breaches - like those at Yahoo, eBay, Sony Playstation and other companies.

Hackers know many of us tend to keep the same passwords for years, and use them on several different sites.

Your best protection here: update passwords often, don't share passwords between sites and use hard-to-guess ones.

If you receive one of these emails, do not respond, or click on any links. Instead, contact your local FBI office and let them know about it.