Don’t Be Held Ransom | A Shady New Maneuver You Should Know About

October 26th, 2018 Paul Xu



There’s a new phishing technique in town, and hackers are having a blast with it.

Here’s how the latest shady maneuver is working:

Hackers are approaching people and telling them that they’ve hacked into their email and/ or computer and have found some sort of “dirt” on them. Then comes the threat to expose said “dirt” unless money is sent to the hacker’s Bitcoin Wallet.

DO NOT fall for this.

DO keep reading to learn how to identify these malicious phishing attempts and how to respond.


  • The email will likely be made to look as though it is coming from you… as they need to convince you that they already have access to your account. They do not have access to your account. Look more closely and you’ll find that the email address they’ve used is nearly identical, but not actually yours.
  • In the email, they will likely claim to be monitoring your online activity and/ or tapping into your camera or webcam.
  • And lastly, they’ll threaten you.


  • This should go without saying, but NEVER click on a link or send money to ANY links provided in these emails.
  • Instead, click that little link in the upper left-hand corner of the Outlook email frame that says “Phish Alert” or delete the email.

If you feel the need for further refreshers from 14 West Information Security, click here to learn more about how you can keep you and your family safe from online scams.



Paul Xu

VP of Information Security at 14 West

I am a huge proponent of perpetual self-improvement and learning. And I think this is one of the reasons I find working in Information Security to be so rewarding. The field is constantly and rapidly evolving, and so I’m faced with an endless challenge. But this translates to me as endless opportunity. In this field, if you are not eager to learn and face a challenge every day, then you’re putting it all on the line. So I try to build my team with people like myself – that are truly passionate about growing their expertise and protecting businesses and their employees. But I also like to surround myself with people that challenge me, and aren’t afraid to question my decisions or share different perspectives. Because we can’t afford to be one dimensional or get comfortable. We’ve got to stay on our toes.

What is something you do every day in the office?
This probably sounds cliché, but I really do start every morning by checking twitter and news feeds for any news in the security world. It’s either a habit or an obsession – I’m not sure which. Probably both.