A new email scam has spread across the U.S. and Canada containing a bomb threat hoax and demands a Bitcoin payment. Reuters reported several buildings were evacuated on December 13 after the scam had spread to major offices and public sites.
The email has been characterised as spam with no reports of specific threats or actual devices being found.
The basic, text-based email was largely ignored by many who received it. But sensitive organisations like schools and media companies took the threat seriously and cleared staff from buildings. Including a number of subway stations in Toronto.
How to identify the email
- The sender email address has been hijacked to mimic a legitimate email address.
- Contains no images, little formatting.
- Will contain a bomb threat. It an attempt to appear threatening, it will list a random substance in brackets next to the threat.
- The threat is vague, "into the building where your business is located".
- Demands payment of US$20,000 via a Bitcoin address (it will appear like a series of random letters & numbers).
- Threatening language.
Many services have already identified the hoax bomb threat email as spam, but it may slip through.
The Bitcoin-spam-scammers have moved on from fake blackmail threats to fake bomb threats. So far no-one's paid anything to the address, and I suspect it'll stay that way. pic.twitter.com/N5MOdmu8Jm— Tom Scott (@tomscott) December 13, 2018
Authorities are investigating
Heavy.com reported the email is being investigated by the FBI with many local police departments acknowledging they were also looking into the threats.
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
- How to report an email you know is spam
- Report an email you think may be suspicious
- How to improve your email security
See more security advice at Sentrian Help below.