Bomb in your building!
Well don’t be! A wave of hoax bomb threats swept the United States on Thursday that rendered people in turmoil. Universities and offices all across the country witnessed the same threat that appeared in email inboxes.
The message was delivered with the subject lines similar to:
These emails proceeded to state that the sender has hired a recruited mercenary to place an explosive device inside the recipient’s building. It further threatened the victim to pay $20,000 by the end of the day in-difficult-to-trace cybercurrency i.e. bitcoin to get the bomb deactivated or else it would be detonated.
This extortion email campaign is known to have originated from Russia & is suspected to have been delivered from 194.58.x.x IP range and some from 193.124.x.x. Apart from the U.S.A; the email was also targeted to the recipients of Canada, UK, NL, Switzerland, & Sweden.
Though the content of the email varied slightly from recipient to recipient, but all shared the same strange diction. The content of one of the emails read as:
Figure 1: Bomb Threat Scam Email
There are no reports of any explosions so far & no bombs have been discovered. The New York Police Department largely dismissed the threat as an elaborate hoax.
This variant of a new email cyber extortion scheme appears to be a steep escalation of a bitcoin blackmail tactic known as “sextortion” email scam that took off this past October.
In this campaign, victims received an email claiming that threat actors commandeered their webcam and recorded the video of the recipient using a porn sight. The mail threatened to publicly release the photos & videos if the victim refused to pay hush money in bitcoin.
Research revealed that this phishing email scam earned its perpetrators half a million dollar. The success of this hoax campaign encouraged the manipulators to devise a new filthy tactic on similar grounds to swindle masses.
The latest email scam threat i.e. New Bomb Threat Email Scam instilled fear among recipients on Thursday. The rumor caused huge loss to various businesses as:
However, many of the recipients suspected a scam immediately. The language of the email gave it away as often happens with phishing emails & other scams.
The group behind the campaign is anonymous and the motive of this Cyber security phishing is also unclear. It is suspected that felonious monetary gain was not the primary concern behind this Email Scam Campaign. However if the objective was something more nefarious such as mass disruption or general chaos, it worked well for the cyber criminals.
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