The Null Device
Criminals are turning to blackmailing office employees
; the criminals send mail to the employees, threatening to wipe their hard disks or install porn on their PCs unless the victims pay them a small sum. Unlike traditional e-extortion schemes, the perpetrators usually don't have to demonstrate their control of the victims' machines; among the millions of people spammed, they find one or two clueless people who accept their claims and pay the small sum demanded; which, of course, marks them out as a "sucker", and results in them being blackmailed for larger amounts.
"It's getting simpler," said Hypponen. "If you wanted to extort money from a small company you would have had to hack them and convince them you have stolen their information. Here, you don't have to do anything but send an e-mail around."
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