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The internet can be as dangerous a place as any. And every so often, it gets shaken up by some new threat that jeopardizes the safety of users across the globe.

Thus, one of the latest scares that has come to our attention is that of the so-called “Programmer who cracked your email” Bitcoin scam. Exactly how serious this ‘scare’ is still remains to be determined, as outlined in Tripwire’s very own YAPBS – Yet Another Password Breach Scam article.

What we know about it so far is that various internet users have been receiving emails containing an identical text. It alleges to come from a programmer who has hacked into the email of said users.

The perpetrator behind these messages claims to have gained access to their passwords a bone-chilling six months prior, a time period which would have given them an alarmingly long time to spy and collect data of any type. And according to those same emails, this would have happened thanks to the victims entering their password on some insecure website.

But the problem doesn’t end there. The hacker goes on to say that they have acquired information regarding each and every step the victims have taken on the internet ever since then. Unsurprisingly, some of the websites are alleged to be of an adult nature, activity which the hacker threatens to make public knowledge.

In addition, the short but cryptic message goes on to inform the recipients that their computer has also been infiltrated by an RAT.

This, in turn, leads to a whole series of other issues. RAT stands for Remote Access Trojan, and those can quietly spy on you for obscene periods of time. Not to mention how much other havoc they are capable of wreaking should they indeed be present on one’s computer.

Their arsenal includes anything from stealing data and rummaging through files to crashing the system and infecting it with other malware or even using it to infect other computers.

All in all, the whole thing boils down to the age-old concept of extortion. The hacker behind the emails promises to share the private information with the public or lock the user’s computer if not paid a total of $871, which is very similar to a ransomware demand. Moreover, the amount is to be paid in Bitcoin with further payment details specified in the emails in question.

Naturally, anyone who receives an email of this type will question how much of it is actually true. It is possible for it to simply be a scam designed to trick the victims into paying up. However, if there’s even the slightest chance that the claims are true, the victims need to do everything in their power to determine this and remove “Programmer who cracked your email”-related security threats.

Namely, you can do this by simply scanning your computer. Most reputable antivirus software will be able to detect and alert you about a RAT program that’s present in the system. So, if one is indeed detected, then it’s vital that you have it removed as soon as possible. What’s more, after that’s done, we highly recommend changing the passwords to any and all of your web-based accounts.

Daniel SadakovAbout the Author: Daniel Sadakov has a degree in Information Technology and specializes in web and mobile cybersecurity. He harbors a strong detestation for anything and everything malicious and has committed his resources and time to battling all manners of web and mobile threats. He has founded, a website dedicated to covering the top tech stories and providing useful tips for the everyday user, in an effort to reach and help more people. In his off time, he is an avid book reader, occasional PC gamer and affectionate football spectator. Daniel would hardly begrudge anyone who might call him a computer nerd, yet this might be just the thing one needs in case of a security issue.

Editor’s Note: The opinions expressed in this guest author article are solely those of the contributor, and do not necessarily reflect those of Tripwire, Inc.