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Businesses Alerted Against Bomb Threat Demanding Ransom In Bitcoin

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The U.S. government issued a nationwide alert to take a number of precautionary measures in the wake of bomb threat emails that demand bitcoin from businesses and organizations.

The National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center (NCCIC) said it is aware of a worldwide email campaign targeting businesses and organizations with bomb threats. The emails claim that a device will detonate unless a ransom in Bitcoin is paid.

NCCIC is part of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Agency, a wing of the US Department of Homeland Security.

NCCIC recommended a number of actions to those who receive a bomb threat email.
People have been advised not to respond or try to contact the sender of the e-mail, and not to pay the ransom.

The e-mail recipients have also been asked to report the email to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Internet Crime Complaint Center or to a local FBI Field Office.

Recent reports say that scammers are demanding hefty bitcoin ransom with the subject line, "I advise you not to call the police."

In one of the e-mails, the sender reportedly says, "My man carried a bomb (Hexogen) into the building where your company is located. … 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."

Some screenshots of threatening emails were posted on social media.

Thursday, the mayor of Washington, DC, confirmed that the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) briefed her on the ongoing investigation into multiple bomb threats directed at institutions and businesses across the nation.

"Each of the threats was received via email, requesting bitcoin ransom, but we have no knowledge that anyone has complied with the transaction demands", a statement released by Mayor Muriel Bowser's office said.

Bowser said MPD is investigating the threats with the state's federal law enforcement partners. "This is an issue being reported in other cities nationwide and is not considered credible at this time," according to her. "If you receive a threat or observe suspicious activity, please call 911," the statement added.

Government agencies in Australian and New Zealand also are reportedly investigating bomb threat emails seeking bitcoin in ransom.

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