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Ask Adrian: A data breach demanding bitcoin payment and returning a water-damaged smartwatch

Our technology editor answers your trickiest tech question

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Resistance: Samsung’s Galaxy Active should be able to survive being underwater for up to 30 minutes at a depth of 1.5 metres

Question My elderly father received an email to his webmail account today quoting his username and password and demanding a bitcoin payment. Does this mean there was a data breach? — Brian Daly

Answer
Possibly. But it doesn’t necessarily mean it was a breach at your father’s webmail provider. It could be a data breach in another service your father uses, though. For example, it could be that your father uses his webmail as a login for other services. He then might also use the same password across multiple online services (who among us can say we don’t ever do that?). So in this way, a data breach at one of those services could provide a scammer with the basic information they need to scare your father into thinking that they’re poised to take control of sensitive accounts.


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