Question Threat to distribute a (non-existent) video of me doing something


May 11, 2008
Yesterday I received an email that's different from the usual spam/hoax that sometimes sneaks past my email provider's spam filter. It threatened to spread a video of me playing with myself while watching porn on my computer unless I pay $500 in bitcoins. It gives me a deadline which is some time tomorrow. The threat is accompanied by lots of stuff about how he's in control of my computer using a trojan and warnings against going for help.

It's impossible for anyone to have that kind of video because what the author claims I did simply never happened. So at the moment I'm inclined to dismiss it as a bluff. However, I'd like to know if anyone here has ever received this kind of mail and if it's likely to be followed by more serious attacks.

One thing did happen afterwards that may or may not be a coincidence: I clicked on the AV (Avira Free) icon in the taskbar and got a pop-up message saying "Revocation information for the security certificate for this site is not available. Do you want to proceed? - Yes/No/View certificate. When I clicked the 'View certificate' button, it says that it's issued to

Do I need to be concerned? I mean about this particular threat as opposed to the general need to be vigilant? Do you advise reinstalling my whole OS drive? I can do that without too much trouble from a ghost backup.


Most of the times, these are fully unbacked, but the occasional user will fall for them and send the bitcoins.

However, any time this happens its a good idea to change all your passwords on a known to be clean device, run various scans, and potentially reinstall windows if you are really thorough.
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If you know that it is not true the email is simply a scam/bluff. And all the more so if "impossible for anyone to have that kind of video....etc...".

Bitcoins payoff - all the more an indication of scam/bluff/rip-off.

I would run AV and malware scans on the computer.

If nothing found and no problems - just let it all go. Certainly do not reply or respond to the email in any manner. Delete it.

Keep your ghost backup handy and ready. If something else goes wrong - then reinstall.
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