Individuals and organizations all around the world are receiving emails that claim that an explosive device has been placed in the buildings they work in.
The threatening emails demand that recipients pay $20,000 in Bitcoin to stop the bomb from detonating. The sender warns that if police are involved or the recipient does not pay, the bomb will explode.
The threats have sparked a nationwide police investigation across the US and many businesses, schools, and office buildings have been reportedly evacuated as a precaution.
The FBI has released the following statement on the issue:
We are aware of the recent bomb threats made in cities around the country, and we remain in touch with our law enforcement partners to provide assistance. As always, we encourage the public to remain vigilant and to promptly report suspicious activities which could represent a threat to public safety
Oklahoma City Police note in a tweet that no credible threat has been found so far.
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.
— Oklahoma City Police (@OKCPD) December 13, 2018
And NYPD notes via Twitter that “While this email has been sent to numerous locations, searches have been conducted and NO DEVICES have been found.”
Please be advised – there is an email being circulated containing a bomb threat asking for bitcoin payment. While this email has been sent to numerous locations, searches have been conducted and NO DEVICES have been found. pic.twitter.com/7omOs13Z7Q
— NYPD NEWS (@NYPDnews) December 13, 2018
The scam emails have caused massive disruption around the world. As noted, no devices have yet been found despite thorough searches in many different locations that have received the messages.
While all bomb threats, however unbelievable they may be, must be taken seriously, it appears that this email campaign is likely just an amazingly ill-conceived attempt by online criminals to panic recipients into sending money.
An example of the email:
Do not waste your time
Hello. I write you to inform you that my mercenary carried the explosive device (Tetryl) into the building where your company is conducted. My recruited person built an explosive device under my direction. It can be hidden anywhere because of its small size, it can not damage the structure of the building, but you will get many wounded people in the case of its detonation.
My man keeps the area under the control. If any unnatural behavioror policeman is noticed the bomb will be blown up.
I can call off my recruited person if you pay. You send me 20.000 $ in Bitcoin and the bomb will not detonate, but do not try to cheat -I guarantee you that I have to call off my mercenary only after 3 confirmations in blockchain network. My payment details (btc address)- 1P3cNFy3SdfZ8PvMSdgLRcb2TtaLvxfqat
You have to solve problems with the transfer by the end of the working day, if you are late with the payment the device will detonate.
Nothing personal this is just a business, if I do not receive the bitcoins and the bomb explodes, next time other companies will pay me more money, because this isnt a single incident.
For security and anonymity , I will not log into this email. I monitor my wallet every thirty-five min and after receiving the money I will give the command to my man to get away.
If a bomb blows up and the authorities see this message:
We arent a terrorist society and dont assume responsibility for acts of terrorism in other buildings.