School administrators, business owners and various other people across the U.S. and Canada received some strange emails on Thursday threatening them to pay $20,000 worth of Bitcoin or risk a deadly explosion.
The scam's success in extorting money remains unclear, but what it did accomplish was putting dozens, if not hundreds, of law enforcement agencies and emergency personnel on high alert, likely at an extremely high cost.
"What's interesting is now with the internet, the scale at which you can pull something like that off is substantially different," Jared Demott, a cybersecurity expert with VDA Labs, told WWMT.
Bomb threat hoaxes and financial scams have been around for some time, but their scope has historically been limited. A perpetrator once had to phone in a single bomb threat; now they can email thousands with one click. A phone scammer can now do the same, and collect money almost anonymously through Bitcoin.
The perpetrator of Thursday's threats remains unknown, but thanks to digital platforms and cryptocurrency, their handiwork was a national phenomenon. These tools make it so a single individual, a criminal network, or an entire country can pull of digital scams -- and for next to nothing -- explained Samuel Dorshimer, an energy, economics and security researcher for the Center for a New American Security.
Read the full article and more in Circa.