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Breaking News: Email Scam Shocks Students

By Lexi Lee, News Editor

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Assistant Principal of Student Services Antwan Babakhani sent an email to students regarding a “hacker” sending extortive emails to students. The emails claim that the “hacker” has compromised the students’ computers and have obtained screenshots of intimate sites the students may have visited. They threaten to release these screenshots to family and friends if a ransom in Bitcoin is not paid.

Faculty has received the exact same email warning about the scam, and their knowledge does not go past the email. English teacher Evelyn Lauer hadn’t heard any information prior to receiving an email about it.

“I really don’t know a lot other than the email that was sent to us. I think that it’s a little disturbing, I guess. I was kind of surprised to get it and was curious about how many teachers that it affected because I hadn’t heard anybody talking about it until we received that email. I guess stuff like this happens all the time, in terms of organizations getting hacked. I’m sure the people who received the emails because of the nature of it were panicking,” Lauer said.

Other students are not scared of the possible threats. Senior Nirvana Meseljevic thinks that the concept of the emails should are not to be feared.

“I just think that it’s very unrealistic considering the fact that not everybody goes on intimate websites. If [the “hacker”] really wanted money over Bitcoin, [that’s not the best option]. That’s just dumb, not scary.” Meseljevic said.

Meseljevic, like other students, is confused by the email, seeing as only a couple of students were affected by it.

“I saw somebody posted it somewhere, but I was looking through my email and I didn’t get anything. I’m just confused who they’re trying to get the money from,” said Meseljevic.

Students, like junior Angela Razo, find the threats scary because of the invasion of privacy that the emails impose on them and the lack of information on the topic.

“Honestly, it’s kind of scary because it’s all private and everything, but I kind of just think it [should be] impossible for that to happen if we have like a firewall to [prevent] that from happening,” Razo said.

This form of scam is known as sextortion: blackmail and/or sexual exploitation in which the threatened release of images is the means of coercion. If such an email is received, the following rules should be followed:

  1. Do not forward the email under any circumstances, this could replicate the virus.
  2. Do not pay the ransom or respond to the hacker.
  3. If in doubt or have concerns about being compromised, call the Helpdesk at West- 2720.

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