Senior claims blackmail after e-mail account hacked
A 73-year-old woman has said a hacker tried to blackmail her by threatening to flood her Facebook contacts with pornographic images after getting hold of her One Communications Northrock password.
Amanda Whayman, who branded OneComm’s treatment of herself as “appalling”, has complained to the Regulatory Authority about the situation.
She has questioned whether she was a victim of a data breach at the telecommunications company.
OneComm insists it has not had a data breach.
Ms Whayman told The Royal Gazette: “My Northrock e-mail with OneComm stopped working.
“I called their customer service and relayed my suspicions that my e-mail account had been hacked.
“The representative confirmed that my Northrock e-mail account had been blocked by them because of suspicious activity.
“She told me there was nothing to worry about and that she would assist me to change my password and activate my account again.
“At no time was it explained to me that my e-mail password may have been stolen.”
Ms Whayman said she was then blackmailed.
She said she received an e-mail showing her old Northrock password and explaining the hacker had access to all her devices. The hacker demanded that she send €450 worth (about $493) of bitcoin to him immediately or else he would release sensitive information to all her Facebook friends and to people on her e-mail contact list.
“He said he would send porn pictures. Obviously, there is nothing sensitive regarding me that he could have used.
“But what about the people who do have things like nude pictures?
“How did the hacker get my e-mail password if OneComm did not have a data leak?
“I don’t know much about the dark web, but I want answers.
“OneComm has been appalling in not responding to me.
“I have sent a complaint to the Regulatory Authority with a copy of the hacker’s e-mail.
“Needless to say, I have not sent any money nor have any intention of doing so but I think OneComm needs to be investigated because I feel they are not being truthful with their customers.”
OneComm insisted that the company had not suffered a data breach.
A spokeswoman said: “We want to assure our valued customers that there has been no data breach within our systems.
“Furthermore, we want to clarify that we do not store customer passwords.
“We adhere to stringent security practices to protect the confidentiality and integrity of users’ data.
“Our commitment to maintaining a secure environment remains unwavering and we will continue to prioritise the privacy of our customers.
“Ensuring e-mail security is crucial to protect your sensitive information and prevent unauthorised access to your accounts.
“We wish to remind our customers that we will never request unsolicited information related to our customer's accounts, via e-mail, text messages, or phone calls.
“If there is ever any uncertainty regarding communications received, we encourage our customers to contact us directly by calling our customer care number 700 7000 for verification. Your safety and trust are of the utmost importance to us.”