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Watch out for Bitcoin Blackmail Scams

So today I came across an email in my spam… This email was sent to me at 12:29am. Here is a screenshot of the email I received:

The sender obviously made up these claims about me and sent the same email to many others.

These alleged claims are obviously completely made up by the sender in an attempt to blackmail me for Bitcoin. If you receive an email or letter with wild accusations made up about yourself, do NOT send any Bitcoin to the sender. It is a dangerous scam.

Let’s take a look at some of the red flags in this email. On the very first line, they use the email address of the email forwarder used for my apps and games. If they actually had spyware on my device, they should have been able to get my actual name if they were able to steal my contacts. Another red flag is the filename of the alleged compromising material. The filename is “Games.mp4.” The email address this email was sent to is games@jaredyork.com. It seems like the sender (probably a bot, especially with this low of intelligence), simply takes the first part of your email address, and capitalizes the first letter. I took a look at other complaints with a similar message on Bitcoin Abuse and found filenames with the names of individuals, which leads me believe they use the first part of your email address and just capitalize it. Since many people use their name or some variation of it, this would make sense. Another big red flag is the scammer’s valuation of Bitcoin to US Dollar. On April 13, one bitcoin is worth $5,051.80. The next day, April 14 (today), the price of bitcoin is $5,082.50. This amount is nowhere near the alleged valuation of $5,030 allegedly at 12:29 last night. Finally if we take a look at the time this email was sent, 12:29AM, it’s very close to a half hour interval. My guess is the sender is a bot sending out a batch of emails in half hourly intervals. These are just the main red flags that occurred to me while reading this email, other than the fact of course, that the claims in this email are complete bogus. With an email like this however, I could see why they might try sending messages like this to men (as apparently received by many), might cause quite the scare.

Ultimately, any legitimacy of an email like this can be diminished by a quick search of the first few sentences. You will most likely see that you’re not the only one, and you have nothing to worry about. At the end of the day, whether you’re checking your email or browsing online, it’s important to stay vigilant. If you have any questions about any questionable email you receive, please email me at jared.york@yorkcs.com and I will verify it for you.

Windows 7 end of support is approaching

Unfortunately, extended support for Windows 7 will be ending in January of 2020. Mainstream support for the operating system has already ended in early 2015. Microsoft pushed out an update that will start showing frequent updates reminding users to upgrade to Windows 10.

While annoying, I don’t necessarily think this is a really bad thing. Users should be upgrading to Windows 10. It’s extremely important to keep your systems updated so they maintain the latest security patches. Unpatched computers will be susceptible to vulnerabilities, malware, worms, spyware, etc.

The good news is, Windows 10 isn’t that much different than Windows 7. There’s still a start menu, your task bar is at the bottom, and many of the features from Windows 7 can be found in the same spot. The new Metro UI might make navigating the Settings menu a bit more difficult for those not used to it. However, the Control Panel can still be utilized by typing it in when the start menu appears. Microsoft has also added virtual desktops to Windows 10, a long time feature request the community has been asking for. Virtual desktops allow you to add separate work spaces that you can open applications in and switch between them seamlessly.
There are also other features Windows 10 brings to the table such as Cortana, Hello, Edge, Xbox Streaming, and much more.

Many of the issues that early Windows 10 adopters have encountered have been fixed in the frequent updates Microsoft releases. As much as I love my Aero aesthetic, I will take security updates any day. If you’re still running Windows 7 and none of your programs depend on it, switch to Windows 10. This will ensure your computer won’t remain unpatched once January rolls around. Plus, you won’t have to worry about it! Instead of dealing with malware taking advantage of a hidden vulnerability, you can instead have a relaxing cup of coffee (or other beverage of choice.)