Jackson Street Notes: ‘I am being blackmailed’

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By JOHN A. WINTERS, Publisher

To put it as simply as I can, I am being blackmailed.

I know this because I’ve watched enough cop shows and as a word guy, I use the dictionary a lot.

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black·mail

/ˈblakˌmāl/

the action, treated as a criminal offense, of demanding payment or another benefit from someone in return for not revealing compromising or damaging information about them.

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Plus, I’ve gotten three “pay up or else” emails so far concerning two of my old personal blogs. 

Devin Malm, whom I am guessing is British because he has a uk.com email, wants $2,500 in bitcoin. Chandra Cross, not sure where she is from, wants $3,000 in bitcoin and Tiffany Lindt, again not sure, wants $3,000 in bitcoin as well. 

Interestingly, the women want more. (nails, hair, throw pillows?). More interesting, the wording from all three blackmailing hackers are pretty much verbatim. 

In the newspaper business, hard news stories need to have a powerful lede (yes, that is spelled correctly). The lede is your first sentence. It needs to get the reader’s attention.

Their lede was “Your Site Has Been Hacked.”

So yeah, that got my attention. Kudos to whomever taught them journalism.

That is followed by “PLEASE FORWARD THIS EMAIL TO SOMEONE IN YOUR COMPANY WHO IS ALLOWED TO MAKE IMPORTANT DECISIONS!”

So at least they are polite. But that depends if the ALL CAPS was shouting or just making sure I knew what to do next.

So apparently they found a vulnerability they were able to exploit, then gained access to my database credentials and extracted said entire database to an offshore servier.

Their words, not mine, because I don’t know anything about database credentials. 

Then they got nasty. “We will systematically go through a series of steps of totally damaging your reputation.”

They will sell my database to the “highest bidder which they will use with whatever their intentions are.” I had to reread that a couple of times. Visions of Doctor Evil popped into my mind, as well as becoming pretty sure these folks weren’t American or British like Devin claimed.

I’m beginning to think this is the new Nigerian scam but with Russians computer hackers. 

And if all that wasn’t enough, they are going to sell my emails (don’t have any on those blogs, but let’s keep that between us), which will “thusly damaging your reputation and having angry customers/associates with whatever angry customers/associates do.” Again, their words/spelling, not mine.  

Fortunately, they answered my burning question with – “How do I stop this?”

They think of everything, don’t they? Basically, follow the steps as outlined and they will refrain from destroying my site’s reputation. 

They ended with what I guess is the general hacker threat. Don’t reply to the email. This was not a hoax and they will not negotiate. If I don’t pay up they will start the aforementioned destruction in however many days it was.

The light at the end of the tunnel?

“Once you have paid we will stop what we were doing and you will never hear from us again!”

So I guess this will continue, cause I’m just not paying. And to be truthful, I can’t figure out their instructions anyway.

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