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When I Was “Hacked” And Blackmailed For Bitcoins

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A few days ago before a planned trip to Delhi to get some stuff back home. It was around 8:45 am. I was browsing my emails to find some certificates or the sites where my articles are published. I found this weird mail in the spam section that seemed intriguing and fishy at the same time.

I thought it was another antivirus ad sent to me by Mcafee. Still, it was different. The name of the person who sent me the email was “Jane Doe.” Yet the email id was”topratedmovie48@californiahorrorstory.com“.

What I found out was a wretched hive of scum and villainy. 

What The Email Said

In other words, I got my first threat in years. I was used to death threats back in my Google Plus days whenever I made memes to mock a celebrity or an online culture like Kpop or anime. But this threat was different. The email claimed that it hacked my account and was tracking my internet activities. They also claimed to have software that made their hacking of my account way easier. It also claims that they had access to my devices and my social network data. 

They said that I love browsing pornographic sites in addition to recording me making self-love. They claimed to have created a montage of my self-love (masturbation) videos, and they can leak it to my friends and family if they want to. That is unless I give them what they want. The so-called hackers wanted $1650 in Bitcoin. To make the transaction, they gave me their Bitcoin ID. The “hackers” gave me a deadline of 2 days from the moment I opened their email.

They gave me several warnings. If I told my parents, friends, or the police, they will send the email right away. They also told me not to find them as well as not to reply to them. They also assured me that they would delete my leaked data once they get their transactions. To add up, they would also “forget about this” once and for all.

Once I read the email, my initial reactions were anxiety, panic attacks, and being afraid. I thought I shouldn’t tell my family about this even though I don’t have $1650 in my bank account. I don’t even know how to use cryptocurrency, let alone Bitcoin. Out of fear, I told my ma, my sister, and my friend group. They told me not to pay the money as well as to report this to the cybercrime. I filed a complaint in the cybercrime portal by providing everything they need like the email address, the name, the email itself, and the Bitcoin ID.

What Research Told Me

When I told my friend about this, he was kind of sketchy. He believes that the email could be fake. The reason for the suspicion was that if the email was genuinely harmful, then they could have sent me any or all pieces of evidence of my certain activities on the internet. At the same time, they could’ve sent my “leaked data” to my friends and family right away, now that I’ve told them about it. I didn’t realize it then.

So I decided to do more research about this. A blog by the Federal Trade Commission caught my eye. When I read it, I was shocked. It was as if I was in the bathtub, and I suddenly screamed Eureka. In other words, the whole thing was a scam. As stated above, all the things that the email claimed were all big talk. It was just a pathetic ploy to scare people to make them pay. 

The only reason I got this email was because of a massive data breach. The “hackers” might not have the software to hack my account. What these people do have is one of my older passwords. That is the reason they were able to send this email in the first place.

In the end, the cybercrime portal also rejected my complaint because I didn’t mention my police station. I also didn’t get any response on my phone. Well, I can’t say I blame them. It sure was my first time filing a cybercrime complaint. When I was in Delhi, none of my friends and family got any message of my self-love videos. Nor have I heard from the “hackers” ever again.

I could say this whole thing was a waste of my time and my emotions. However, I think the whole thing has taught me otherwise. I should change my passwords. Secondly, I’m going to enjoy porn very little. This mess could’ve screwed me over if they had pieces of evidence. Lastly, if I get messages like these again, I’ll follow what the FTC report says. Delete them.

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Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

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The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

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Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

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A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

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As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

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