In an attempt to extract money, spammers are sending out Bitcoin bomb threats via email to dozens of businesses, schools, government buildings, and hospitals across Canada, the US, New Zealand, and Australia, Reuters reports.
According to the report, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and other police departments responded and determined that the Bitcoin bomb threat was not credible.
The hoax threats are reported to have spread to other cities including Iowa, Denver, Washington, New York, Detroit, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Phoenix, Oklahoma City, Grand Rapids, Ottawa and Calgary, Alberta.
While there’s no evidence of any explosives detonating, blackmailers requested all payments of $20,000 to be transferred to a specified Bitcoin address.
The report states that investigators said none of the recipients transferred any funds towards the address specified in the emails they received.
Bitcoin bomb threats in Canada
Oklahoma’s police force is also investigating a number of cases related to the Bitcoin bomb threats.
In a Tweet, Oklahoma City Police said: “We’re working a number of bomb threat calls in OKC. There have been similar threats called into several locations around the country. No credible threat found at this point. We encourage the public to continue to be vigilant and call with anything suspicious.”
Police in Calgary and Toronto also posted a similar message on Twitter, stating they are investigating the matter further, but said the threats lack credibility.
It’s not clear who is behind these threats, but Cisco Systems Inc’s Talos cybersecurity unit believes these threats derive from a group of fraudsters previously linked to ‘sextortion’ scam.
“Cisco Talos discovered that this campaign is actually an evolution of sextortion and extortion attacks that we reported back in October. The claims in the emails we’ve seen from this actor are completely false, yet they have caused untold amounts of damage as organizations have evacuated buildings and called upon law enforcement to investigate,” the security firm wrote in its statement.
“We expect these sorts of attacks to continue as long as there are victims who will believe these threats to be credible, and be scared enough to send money to the attackers,” it said.
Hong Kong targeted by Bitcoin bomb threat
According to an exclusive report from South China Morning Post (SCMP), the same party responsible for the threats in Canada, the US, Australia and New Zealand are now trying to steal funds from companies in Hong Kong.
Written by Islam Soliman