Emails warning internet users that they have violated copyright and owe companies such as Sony and Paramount a cash settlement have been circulating widely in Germany – but the shock tactic is a scam.
Emails warning internet users that they have violated copyright and owe companies such as Sony and Paramount a cash settlement have been circulating widely in Germany – but these copyright emails are a scam, bait to make victims click on a Trojan attached to the emails.
Duped by copyright email
The copyright emails accuse their recipients of having pirated tracks by artists such as Jay-Z, Bullet for my Valentine, James Blunt and heavy metal bands such as Sepultura.
Torrentfreak reports that up to 30,000 web users in Germany have received the copyright emails – and that “middle man” companies such as Rightscorp do send such demands via email, so victims are more likely to be duped into opening the poisoned attachment.
‘Fastest possible payment’
One of the copyright email messages says, “This is a warning because of your violation of § 19a of the Copyright Act on 07.06.2014. The music album ‘Bullet For My Valentine – Temper Temper’ was downloaded from your IP address 188.8.131.52 at 3:40:24.Only the fastest possible payment of a fine of 400.88 euros can prevent this. We expect payment within the next 48 hours.”
“For details see the attached document”
Cologne copyright lawyer Christian Solmecke said that he saw hundreds of emails in one morning this week – saying that the pattern of the attack was similar to a fake copyright violation phishing campaign which targeted users of the pornographic site RedTube.
“On Monday morning more than 100 people have called us in the office,” Solmecke writes on his blog. “We think that the fake warnings have reached 10,000 people today.”
The Next Web reports that some of the emails appear to arrive from genuine law firms involved in sending out copyright notices.
Solmecke offers guidelines to how to spot the fraudulent emails (German-language link): he says that the zip file is a giveaway, as no reputable law firm would send a copyright demand in the format, as is the 48-hour time limit users are faced with before paying the fine. .