Application security

Massive email bomb threat extortion scam spamming U.S. inboxes

A nationwide wave of bomb threat emails demanding a bitcoin payment to halt the explosion are being received by schools, government agencies and private organizations.

AppRiver researchers first saw these emails earlier today and described them as being in the same class as sextortion scams that attempt to scare people into paying in order to keep an embarrassing video from being posted online.

“In these emails, the sender informs the recipient that their “recruited mercenary” has placed an explosive device inside their building which they plan to detonate unless a Bitcoin payment in the amount of $20,000 is made to the BTC address provided in the message,” AppRiver told SC Media in an email.

The lack of sophistication of this attack has also been brought up.

“This spam campaign is pure extortion, plain and simple. It's not very advanced and doesn't require much social engineering or any hacking whatsoever. In fact, it seems very poorly thought out if the aim was actually to make someone pay up. Even though bomb threats are scary, this is amateur scamming," said Paul Bischoff, privacy advocate with

The emails have caused evacuations and searches by local law enforcement have not found any explosive devices. The FBI and local police agencies are reporting that they do not consider the threats credible.

The New York City Police tweeted it is monitoring multiple bomb threats sent electronically to multiple locations throughout the city. The same news is been received from across the country threats being received from Las Vegas to Philadelphia to Columbus, Ohio, to Huntsville, Ala.

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