Japanese Cities Disrupted by Bitcoin-Seeking Bomb Threat Emails
Police are investigating a number of emailed crypto ransom bomb threats in several Japanese cities – with criminals threatening to destroy city halls and go on killing sprees unless they are paid in bitcoin (BTC).
Per a report from Kyodo News, and published by Chunichi Shimbun, the threats have centered on public bodies in the Kanto region. The area comprises the Greater Tokyo Area and seven smaller surrounding prefectures with populous satellite cities.
Authorities in Kashima, Ibaraki Prefecture, Tochigi Prefecture's Sano, Saitama Prefecture’s Kazo and Kawagoe and Kashiwa and Kimitsu City in the Chiba Prefecture all reported that they had received emailed threats, although the contents of each mail appear to have been different in each case.
The emails’ senders threatened variously to “bomb city hall buildings” or send gunmen armed with handguns to “start shooting randomly” in public buildings unless sums of around BTC 30 were sent to the wallet addresses they provided.
The criminals set various deadlines, including specific times on December 25 and 26.
And the news outlet reports that the local governments of the cities in question have responded with measures including the temporary closure of government office and restrictions on building access.
The threats come just under a month after a similar bomb scare on the island of Hokkaido– with criminals claiming to have placed an explosive device in a women’s toilet in Numata Town Hall.
An English-language crypto ransom scheme featuring a bomb threat caused widespread disruption around the world in December 2018.