Users around the world have been receiving bitcoin extortion emails for a long time, one of the most notorious being a “sextortion” threat to show a computer-eye view of you watching adult videos to the world. The latest threat is more alarming: the sender claims to have a bomb planted at the recipient’s business. Financial institutions in New York began receiving bomb threat emails demanding payment of $20,000 in Bitcoin in early December.
New York City Police warned via Twitter that they were monitoring multiple bomb threats on December 13 and reports soon came in of threats emailed to Philadelphia, Las Vegas, Huntsville, Alabama, and Columbus, Ohio.
The subject line of most of these bitcoin scam emails is: “I advise you not to call the police.” Some emails received in Canada came with a subject line of “Think Twice.”
One copy of the email, which has been sent to multiple recipients, reads:
“My man carried a bomb (Hexogen) into the building where your company is located. …. I can withdraw my mercenary if you pay. You pay me 20.000 $ in Bitcoin and the bomb will not explode, but don’t try to cheat – I warrant you that I will withdraw my mercenary only after 3 confirmations in blockchain network.”
KrebsOnSecurity describes the emails as extremely disruptive spam. The emails have been received by thousands of governmental organizations, businesses, educational, and health care institutions around the world.
Hexogen is a chemical term for RDX, the explosive component in the military plastic explosive C-4.