Data Extortion



Here at ValuNet FIBER we take the security of our customers very seriously. Recent events in the news from around world has prompted us to share some information that can protect you and your family from what the Department of Justice calls “Fraudsters”.

One of the more recent occurrences involves data thefts of personal information from websites. The information often includes name, address, phone number, credit card information and other personal data. The Fraudsters will use this information to extort money from their victim, often by threatening exposure to friends and relatives of the victim’s personal data. Sometimes the information that the Fraudsters use is simply the fact that the victim used a particular website at all, such as in the case of the Ashley Madison hack a few months ago.

Once the threat of exposure has been made the Fraudster will require a payment to keep them from revealing the information. More and more the preferred method of payment is in Bitcoin. A largely anonymous form of digital currency.

The department of Justice has released some tips on limiting your exposure and to help protect yourself from this type of crime:



  • Do not open e-mail or attachments from unknown individuals.
  • Monitor your bank account statements regularly, as well and as your credit report at least once a year for any fraudulent activity.
  • Do not communicate with the subject.
  • Do not store sensitive or embarrassing photos of yourself online or on your mobile devices.
  • Use strong passwords and do not use the same password for multiple websites.
  • Never provide personal information of any sort via e-mail. Be aware, many e-mails requesting your personal information appear to be legitimate.
  • Ensure security settings for social media accounts are turned on and set at the highest level of protection.
  • When providing personally identifiable information, credit card information, or other sensitive information to a website, ensure the transmission is secure by verifying the URL prefix includes https, or the status bar displays a “lock” icon.


It is recommended that should you become the target of this type of activity that you contact the FBI. Further, it is recommended that you do not pay the Fraudster as this perpetuates their behavior.