Bitcoin Bomb Threat Emails Found to Be a Hoax, so Far
An email has been circulating in various workplaces demanding a sum in Bitcoin in exchange for being spared from a bombing.
Hundreds of workers in the United States and Canada were confronted on Thursday evening with a disturbing email threatening to bomb their workplaces if they didn’t fork over $20,000 in Bitcoin, Business Insider reports.
“Hello. There is an explosive device [...] in the building where your company is conducted. My recruited person constructed the bomb according to my guide… I want to propose you [sic] a bargain. You pay me $20,000 in Bitcoin and explosive [sic] will not detonate,” the email said.
The author of the email, who refers to himself as Claire James—although the email address used to send the message is “[email protected]”—then proceeded to provide a Bitcoin address and instructions on when the payment should be made.
The US Federal Bureau of Investigation swiftly issued a statement on the situation, confirming that it is aware of the circumstances.
“We are aware of the recent bomb threats made in cities around the country, and we remain in touch with our law enforcement partners to provide assistance. As always, we encourage the public to remain vigilant and to promptly report suspicious activities which could represent a threat to public safety,” the organization said.
So far, authorities around the world have reported that no explosive devices have been found in any of the places where they looked, indicating that this is certainly a hoax.
It seems that the public is also convinced of this, as Cryptovest took a look at the Bitcoin address from the threatening emails and found that the balance after nearly 24 hours is still 0 BTC. It’s worth noting that not a single transaction has been made to the wallet.
The truth is that there’s no telling whether or not there is a bomb in any of the buildings where the emails were sent, but it’s looking less likely as time passes. For all their effort, these would-be scammers made nothing from their gig.
Not every potential victim is lucky enough to be confronted with empty threats, though. The Canadian town of Midland had to pay a ransom in BTC to regain access to files that were encrypted by hackers looking for a quick payout.
Although sending a bunch of spooky emails may not trigger a response, the aforementioned incident demonstrates that ransomware can still sway organizations to simply pony up the cash rather than deal with the headache of restoring data through methods that are not guaranteed to work.