2018 Bitcoin Bomb Threats

2018 Bitcoin Bomb Threats

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Updated Dec 14, 2018 at 02:09PM EST by Matt.

Added Dec 14, 2018 at 01:31PM EST by Matt.

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Overview

The 2018 Bitcoin Bomb Threats refers to a series of emails sent to various locations throughout the English-speaking world demanding $20,000 in BitCoin or a bomb in that location would be detonated. Authorities have since determined that the emails were a hoax.

Background

On December 13th, 2018, numerous locations throughout the world, including businesses and schools in the United States, Canada, New Zealand and the United Kingdom, received threats of detonating an explosive unless they received payment in the form of BitCoin.[1] Many of the messages read:[2]

Subject: Do not waste your time

Hello. My man hid an explosive device (Hexogen) in the building where your business is conducted. My mercenary assembled the explosive device according to my guide. It has small dimensions and it is covered up very carefully, it is impossible to damage the building structure by my bomb, but in the case of its detonation there will be many victims.
My recruited person keeps the area under the control. If any unusual behavioror cop is noticed he will power the bomb.
I can call off my man if you make a transfer. 20.000 dollars is the cost for your life and business. Pay it to me in BTC and I warrant that I will withdraw my man and the device won't detonate. But do not try to cheat- my guarantee will become valid only after 3 confirmations in blockchain network.

My payment details (Bitcoin address): (REMOVED)

You must solve problems with the transaction by the end of the workday, if you are late with the money the device will detonate.
Nothing personal this is just a business, if you don’t transfer me the bitcoins and a bomb explodes, next time other companies will send me more money, because this is not a one-time action.
For my safety, I will no longer log into this email. I check my address every forty min and if I receive the payment I will order my person to get away.

If the explosive device detonates and the authorities see this letter:
We are not terrorists and dont assume any liability for explosions in other places.

Development

Official Response

Various police departments throughout the United States published warnings and precautions about the threats. In these tweets, they also confirmed that the various departments had not found any evidence of explosives. Massachusetts State Police tweeted, [3] "MSP and partner agencies on federal and local levels are conducting risk assessment procedures regarding the threats and will determine appropriate responses. NO indications of any explosives located or detonated to this point. We will continue to communicate info when available" (shown below, left).

Throughout the day, more departments tweeted about the threats (example below, right).


Mass State Police @MassStatePolice STAT MSP and partner agencies on federal and local levels are conducting risk assessment procedures regarding the threats and will determine appropriate responses. NO indications of any explosives located or detonated to this point. We will continue to communicate info when available. Mass State Police@MassStatePolice MSP Fusion Center tracking multiple bomb threats emailed to numerous businesses in the state. MSP Bomb Squad notified and local departments are responding in their communities. Similar threats have been received in other states. We will share more info when available. Oklahoma City Police @OKCPD We're working a number of bomb threat calls in OKC. There have been similar threats called into several locations around the country. No credible threat found at this point. We encourage the public to continue to be vigilant and call with anything suspicious,

That day, Washinton, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser released a statement about threats.[4] It said:

Mayor Bowser has been briefed by the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) on the ongoing investigation into the numerous bomb threats directed at institutions and businesses across the nation, including the District. Each of the threats was received via email, requesting bitcoin ransom, but we have no knowledge that anyone has complied with the transaction demands. MPD is investigating these threats with our federal law enforcement partners. This is an issue being reported in other cities nationwide and is not considered credible at this time. If you receive a threat or observe suspicious activity, please call 911.

Online Reaction

The bomb threats were discussed on several subreddits, including /r/sysadmin,[10] /r/Buttcoin,[11] /r/technology[12] and more.

Media Coverage

Many media outlets covered the bomb threats, including The Verge,[1] Wired,[5] NBC,[6] CNN,[7] ABC,[8] CBS[9] and more.



Search Interest

External References

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Top Comments

Rustic
Rustic

I swear this has to be the most stupid spam mail I have ever seen at this point. Can someone tell me if most schools and businesses even know how to use bitcoin? I ask because I am sure that a good many of them don't have expertise in using bitcoins just like your average person wouldn't.

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