IN OFFICES AND universities all across the country Thursday, the same threat appeared in email inboxes: Pay $20,000 worth of bitcoin, or a bomb will detonate in your building. Police departments sent out alerts. Workers from Los Angeles to Raleigh, North Carolina, evacuated their cubicles in the middle of the day. All over Twitter, people posted screenshots of the emails, many different versions of which appear to have been blasted out. As of Thursday afternoon, no bombs had been found, and cybersecurity experts largely dismissed the threats as an elaborate hoax.
Not all police departments have confirmed it as a scam. But it certainly appears to be a steep escalation of a bitcoin blackmail tactic that took off this summer. In that scheme, victims received an email claiming that a hacker commandeered their webcam while they were watching pornography and would release the resulting photos publicly if the target didn’t pay a small amount in bitcoin. It was an obvious lie but one that nevertheless earned its perpetrators half a million dollars. In an apparent attempt to increase the urgency, this wave of attacks swaps out sextortion in favor of fake bombs.
Sourced through Scoop.it from: www.wired.com