The National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center (NCCIC), part of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Agency branch of the United States Government acknowledged and issued advisory after multiple reports of bomb threats were received by individuals and companies across the country. The email demands a Bitcoin ransom and threatens with deadly consequences if not complied with. This is the second such Bitcoin-related bomb threat since 2017.
Government officials, police departments in the USA and Canada have issued warnings and advisory statements concerning the string of threats sent across the past week.
The emails follow a similar pattern warning the recipient of an explosive device been hidden in their building and demand $20,000 in bitcoins, without which the bomb will be detonated. The bitcoin wallet address and the name of hidden explosive keep changing, however, the intent is the same across various email accounts:
"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.
Here is my Bitcoin address: 1GHKDgQX7hqTM7mMmiiUvgihGMHtvNJqTv
You have to solve problems with the transfer by the end of the workday. If you are late with the money explosive will explode"
Multiple offices and buildings had been evacuated in the initial stage of the emails, including schools and hospitals
Government and news agencies are approaching this as a hoax. However, the police and authorities remain vigilant and have urged the recipients of such emails to inform the FBI immediately.
Australia and New Zealand also affected
Number of Australians and New Zealanders were targeted by these emails as well. However, both the countries did not report evacuations or shutdowns in any capacity.
The Australian Cyber Security (ACS) stated the following to Reuters:
"Given the widespread nature of these malicious emails, we have reason to believe this to be a scam"
The ACS also stated:
"The ACSC believes this to be a scam, however as a precaution, state police agencies are treating this as a real threat until confirmed otherwise. If you receive the email, we encourage you to contact your local police service."
Cert NZ acknowledged and advised against the situation as well, urging the recipients not to contact or respond in any manner to the threats.
As per the latest update and social media monitoring, there is no informaton if any person has complied with the 'demands'.