Research on Sextortion by Check Point

Researchers at Check Point, the global leader in cyber security, discovered the “how” behind sextortion campaigns. Sextortion is when a person receives an email that demands blackmail payment threatening to expose sexual content captured usually via their own webcam. Through a five-month research project, Check Point researchers exposed a very large, “normal” malware that is using its infected victims to unknowingly send sextortion emails to the masses in a machine-like manner. The sheer speed and volume of emails being generated is staggering. 

People Unknowingly Send Sextortion Emails to 27 Million Others – Check Point researchers expose botnet using everyday people to unknowingly send 30,000 sextortion emails per hour. Some of the key highlights of the research include:

  • You may be one of those everyday people being taken advantage of as a threat vector
  • Botnet circumvents Gmail, Outlook or anything that leaves traces
  • Leaked passwords used in conjunction with email addresses to intimidate innocent recipients
  • Bitcoin wallets used to collect revenue
  • Phorpiex (aka Trik) botnet has been active for almost a decade and currently operates more than 450,000 infected hosts
  • In the 5 months period that we have been monitoring this operation we recorded transfers of more than 11 BTC to the wallets of Phorpiex sextortion – currently over 110,000 US$
  • The spam bot can produce a large amount of spam emails – up to 30,000 per hour
  • Each individual spam campaign can cover up to 27 million potential victims

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