Question: I have received an email from a hacker sent from my email address saying that he has hacked my account and is demanding $1,000 in Bitcoin or he will send compromising videos from my laptop’s camera to all my contacts, clients, etc. Can you tell me if I have been hacked and tell me what I should do?
Answer: This is a SCAM! If the hacker is really in your email account you will get an email from yourself. If this happens, change your password right away. Sometimes the hacker will spoof your email which just makes it look like the email is from you, and sometimes is just from a random email account. The “hacker” will sometimes show you an old password that you recognize to scare you (I’ve seen it both with and without an old password). The password they try to trick you with is likely from an old website like Gawker (see details here https://www.wired.com/2010/12/gawker-hacked). I had an account there, and some of the phishing emails I received have contained the same old throw-away password I used for that site. For your data security and peace of mind, you should never use the same password twice. If you “think” that there is even a possibility that your email account has been hacked, log in immediately and change your password. Also, for Gmail.com and Outlook.com email accounts, you should have Two-Factor authentication turned on. If you have never changed your email password, I would STRONGLY recommend that you do so now! The new mode of hacking people is to get their email password and then sit and wait, and the hackers will read your emails until they can figure out when to strike. They might send an email pretending to be your stockbroker, banker, or colleague from your work asking you to wire money or something else that benefits them.