Bitcoin Ransomware Scam Alert: “Your Site Has Been Hacked.”

We’ve been alerted to a new – and fake – Bitcoin ransomware scam going around. You should be aware of it, especially if you’re a website owner.

The scam arrives by email, and is often submitted through a website contact form. The email author claims to have hacked your website.

The scammers say they have hacked into the website’s database, and moved its contents “offshore.” They proceed to explain how they will leak your information, damage your reputation, and ruin your site’s search engine optimization – unless you agree to pay them in Bitcoins.

An example of the threats:

We will systematically go through a series of steps of totally damaging your reputation. First your database will be leaked or sold to the highest bidder which they will use with whatever their intentions are. Next if there are e-mails found they will be e-mailed that their information has been sold or leaked and your site [website URL] was at fault thusly damaging your reputation and having angry customers/associates with whatever angry customers/associates do. Lastly any links that you have indexed in the search engines will be de-indexed based off of blackhat techniques that we used in the past to de-index our targets.

Don’t be fooled – this is only a hoax.

You can read more about this particular Bitcoin ransomware scam at WebARX or at WP Tavern.

You can stay safe and not fall victim to a Bitcoin ransomware scam like this one.

If you receive an email claiming to have hacked your website, here’s what to do:

  1. Stay calm. Think logically about the email’s claims. Are they realistic? Are they likely?
  2. Learn to recognize scams. Google has a fun tool to help you learn to recognize phishing scams.
  3. Do a web search for the text from the email.
  4. Ask a trusted advisor his or her opinion about the email.
  5. If in any doubt, don’t hesitate to scan your website (we hope you do this regularly anyway) and change any relevant passwords.
  6. Use browser tools to help avoid scams.

If you are a website owner, you should also be aware of these scams that frequently make the rounds:

Have you received a threatening email, and you’re not sure if it’s a scam, a hoax, or legitimate? Do you need someone to check whether your site has really been hacked or not? Check in with your trusted web advisor.

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Alisa Cognard

Alisa was one of the first team members to join Red Earth Design, Inc. in early 2004. From data entry, she progressed to MySQL database manipulation and PHP coding. Alisa is responsible for all kinds of odds and ends: installing new websites, adding features to them, programming databases, PHP coding, website troubleshooting, website security, and organizational tasks for Red Earth Design.

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