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Recently, a new extortion scam has been reported to the Penn State Office of Information Security (OIS). The scam is personalized and targeted, containing a valid password previously used by the user. The password may not be current; sometimes the password is years old and may have been harvested from a compromised external website. However, as these types of scams grow in popularity, scammers could use newly compromised credentials.

Scammers threaten users by saying their web camera was accessed and used to record the user viewing explicit material. The email warns that if the recipient does not pay quickly, the video will allegedly be released to the user’s contacts.These scam messages are not unique to the Penn State community; security professionals world-wide are reporting this scam. If you have paid the ransom demand, contact your local law enforcement and banking institution immediately. 
OIS recommends that you:

  • Do not respond to scam messages, click on any phishing or scam links, or open any attachments from unexpected sources
  • Do not use the same password across multiple sites
  • Do promptly change any passwords that have been compromised

For the latest phishing alerts, or to report a new alert, please visit:

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