Extortion Emails with Bomb Threats Cause Panic in US Cities
Extortion emails which carried bomb threats caused panic in various cities across the U.S. and police had to tell people to stay calm.
ZDNet reports, “US law enforcement authorities are urging Americans to remain calm after a massive spam campaign carrying bomb threats has scared people and caused building evacuations all day across the country.”
This happened in major cities like Chicago, New York, San Francisco, Detroit and Washington. The spam campaign, which got underway on December 13, comprised of such threatening emails that were sent to millions, mostly in the U.S. The emails, which had varying subject lines and different text variations as well, carried, in essence, the same threat. The recipients were told that if they don’t pay the equivalent of $20,000 in Bitcoin to a specified Bitcoin address, their workplace or building would be blown up.
Bomb threats were reported throughout the day to authorities all over the U.S; local police swung into action and had to evacuate buildings. They even had to send bomb squads to investigate, only to realize that the threats were all fake. Those who got such extortion emails include private businesses, media organizations, schools, universities, courthouses etc.
Though experts and security researchers know that these emails are fake, precaution had to be taken. Public institutions were evacuated, and this affected the working on municipalities across the U.S.
Federal authorities and local police across the U.S were swamped with phone calls about the threat emails all through the day. Ultimately authorities, in different cities- Washington, Chicago, New York, Detroit, San Francisco, Las Vegas, Oklahoma City- had to take to the social media to tell people not to panic and to ignore the emails. People have been asked not to pay any ransom. Experts who tracked the Bitcoin addresses mentioned in the threat emails found that no one has yet made any payment to any of these accounts.
Extortion campaigns are slowly gaining momentum, reports point out. But one with bomb threats- that definitely is news that’s to be taken seriously. The ZDNet report points out, “Since May, there’s been a rash of email extortion campaigns, carrying different themes, but mostly using the classic “sextortion” scheme.”
Julia Sowells950 Posts
Julia Sowells has been a technology and security professional. For a decade of experience in technology, she has worked on dozens of large-scale enterprise security projects, and even writing technical articles and has worked as a technical editor for Rural Press Magazine. She now lives and works in New York, where she maintains her own consulting firm with her role as security consultant while continuing to write for Hacker Combat in her limited spare time.