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13 December 2006, 14:24

Ransom demands for deleted emails

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How much is your mail worth to you? Websense reports that this question is of immediate concern to Spanish Hotmail users. Extortionists used stolen login data to break into individual accounts, deleting all sent and saved mails as well as all contacts--after making copies for themselves. The only item left in the inbox was a letter from the extortionists demanding money for the return of the email: "If you want to know where your mail and contacts have gone, then pay up or you'll lose everything". Websense reports that the login data was probably acquired through spies in internet cafes.

Blackmail traps in the digital world are nothing new. Various trojans have been known to encrypt important files on infected systems. A ransom payment is demanded in exchange for the decryption password. Protection money schemes had, until now, primarily affected online betting agencies. The perpetrators threaten DDoS attacks on the agencies' servers if the provider declines to pay the demanded sum.

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