Hacked Computer

Yesterday morning I received an email demanding I pay $1400 to a web link or my computer would be taken over. The title of the email included a password I use on some accounts. It was enough for me to feel that it might not be fake and that has proved correct. I deleted it and changed some passwords using a different computer. I had a chat with my ISP Zen who thought it was probably fake but advised me to change my password with them. After deleting the email the PC worked OK until the evening - when I turned it on after an evening out the browser Firefox and email client Thunderbird would not respond. This morning the PC works OK when disconnected from my router so I’ve access to all my files and my email history but the browser and email lock up when the PC is connected to the router. This is not a life or death matter as I’ve got a laptop which is not quite a clone but close enough to keep me going - hence this message. I could give the PC to a local shop confident that I’ve never been to the dark web and that Plod won’t be having another ‘Gary Glitter moment’ but I would rather solve it myself.

Suggestions and help please …

PS : I’ve check my finances and everything is as it should be.

Straight to plod would be my reaction. Give them a copy of the email and an outline of what happened.

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Change your passwords and if your pc is infected, format and reinstall windows, copy important data to an external drive and then leave it disconnected. If that isn’t something you are confident doing or are aware of, pc world can help you, obviously you’ll be victim to their costs and time.

It sounds to me like your machine doesn’t have virus, I’d advise removing Firefox/thunderbird and reinstalling it. It’s likely just coincidence that this has started happening after seeing that dodgy email.

For future reference on why it is important to ignore those emails (and confirmation that you have done the right thing so far)…

As an IT pro, if you’ve been hit by ransomware, you will not get the corrupt data back, so, you will have learnt the value of backups on separate hardware. A few lecturers at work who should know better fell for ransomware links and lost a few days work. People have paid for the recovery solution, which, has never been sent to them, so they’ve lost data and are out of pocket.

Tldr, don’t panic.

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This is a scam, they will have acquired one of your passwords from one of the many historic leaks and are trying it on.

Run malware checks and ensure that any passwords that have been compromised are not in use elsewhere.


I get these regularly. All based on a password I haven’t used for 10 years, and threatening to send videos of me watching porn to “all my facebook contacts.” Good luck with that one, lads.

They are completely bogus and based on stolen password lists - I think mine came from Linkedin. Just make sure the password is no longer in use.


Yer sounds like a scam,i sometimes get phone calls saying much the same thing.Just change your passwords

check your details here:


Stop browsing dodgy porn sites.