Hackers blackmailed victims in Dubai asking for payment in Bitcoins. Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: Hackers are using a new programme to identify the first three letters of email passwords in order to blackmail users, police said on Sunday.

The warning from police came after hackers blackmailed victims in Dubai asking for payment in Bitcoins.

Major-General Khalil Ebrahim Al Mansouri, Assistant Commander-in-Chief for Criminal Investigation Affairs of Dubai Police, said the hackers have a new method for extortion: they send an email to the victim with first three letters of their internet passwords in order to convince them that they have access to their personal content.

“Hackers have a new online extortion method. They use a special programme to get first three letters of the passwords as a proof that they have hacked the email. The terrified victims have paid the money,” Maj Gen Al Mansouri said.The police registered five such incidents recently.

In one case, an Asian man who made a funny video of his boss secretly to send to other employees in jest was targeted by such hackers. He received an email from a stranger saying he had hacked his email address and threatened to post his personal details and pictures online unless he paid him with Bitcoins.

Scared, angry

He lodged a complaint with Dubai Police as he was scared that his director would come to know about the videos.

Lieutenant Colonel Salem Salmeen, Deputy Director of Cybercrimes Department in Dubai Police, said hackers always create new methods to deceive victims in online extortion cases.

“Hackers can use anything against the victim as soon as they get their personal content or pictures. The phoney hacking is a new method. The naivety of some people help the hackers in getting their personal contents,” Lt Col Salmeen said.

In another incident, a woman who saved personal pictures taken during a wedding, received a message that her email password was hacked. Officers checked her phone and told her that she was a victim of phoney hacking. “The hacker manipulates with the victim but he doesn’t have the full password. Victims should inform police about online extortion immediately,” Lt Col Salmeen added.

According to the UAE’s Cyber Crime Law, anyone who uses the internet to blackmail a victim can be jailed for upto 10 years.


Protect yourself

*Do not accept a friend request from strangers

*Do not click on suspicious links

*Do not give money to strangers befriending you

*Don’t show interest or weakness [in any schemes or offers]

*Block the suspects and avoid communicating with them even if they provoke you and use threats

*Inform the police and keep the threatening emails as evidence

*Don’t share your personal details, address or phone numbers on social media networks