Crypto-Extortion Email Scam Uses Bomb Threats & Bitcoin

Crypto-extortion email scams took a terrifying step up today after multiple US businesses reported receiving threats to detonate a bomb in their building unless a bitcoin ransom was paid. Several Coveware clients sent us copies of the note, which were identical to the example below:

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The story was originally broken by KrebsOnSecurity, who noted that the bitcoin wallet addresses used in each one are different.   The email advises not to contact authorities and sets a vague ‘end of day’ deadline, and tell tale red flag as most cyber extortionists are very precise with their deadlines.

Scary and Disruptive Escalation to crypto-extortion

This campaign represents a scary escalation from sextortion emails that claim to have embarrassing video footage from the recipient’s cell phone.  Unlike the sextortion campaign, which preys on reputation shame of the victim, this threat is difficult to ignore if you are the company that receives it. While the threat is certainly suspect, ignoring it is not an option from a liability perspective.  It is certain to strain local law enforcement resources in the near term and derivatives of it will likely have a similar effect.

Ransomware NewsBill Siegel