CSIT has seen indications over the past 24 hours that a new wave of threatening email is targeting NWU mailboxes. While our message filters are flagging these incoming messages with a warning that the message is malicious, we have decided that the volume of such messages warrants a general alert.
This particular email scam which attempts to extort a payment from the target of the scam. A message will typically begin by making claims that the message recipient's email account has been compromised and/or that their computer has had remote administration tools (RAT) installed. The scammer claims to have collected a range of confidential and potentially embarrassing data and threatens to release it to the public - particularly individuals in the target's address book - unless they are paid. In other cases, the scammer will threaten damage or encrypt the target's data unless paid.
These messages are frauds. The scammer's premise is that most people have done something on their computer or have some sensitive data on their computer which they would not want made public. They are designed to frighten the target into paying the scammer to avoid the release of potentially embarrassing material. In fact, the claims made in the message are groundless.
Should you receive such message, please delete them from your mailbox.