Extorted Businesses in Amsterdam Ordered to Pay in BTC
Various businesses located in Amsterdam are receiving threats via email demanding a payment of 50,000 euros worth of BTC. It is mentioned in the email that any failure to pay the amount, will lead to explosives bein planted within their buildings and also they will also be fired upon to force the closure of these businesses. The law in the country is that any business is forced to shutter its doors for some time following any shooting incidents or the discovery of explosives.
The email stated that a lot of entrepreneurs were forced to shut down by order of the government, so paying them the required BTC is the way to prevent such interruptions to their businesses.
Exact Instructions to Avoid Shut Down
Instructions given in the email required the victims to pay up by opening an account on one of 2 major crypto exchange platforms, Coinbase or Coinmama. Then they were then instructed to purchase the specific amount of BTC and start transferring them to a specific predetermined address.
It all started in the middle of the year when a local nightclub and 3 coffee shops, among other who may not have reported it, received these threats. It was also made quite clear in the message that failure to make the payment within five days would result in the fee doubling to 100,000 euros.
Confidentiality is another thing the blackmailers demanded adamantly, as victims are warned against notifying the police or any other individual. If these rules were violated, the fee would increase to 200,000 euros worth of BTC. Furthermore, there would be instant action taken to make sure the business would close down for a period of no less than 3 months, as per the extortion email. It seems, so far, none of the businesses which had been threatened have admitted to following these instructions and actually paying up.
No Threat of Ransomware
These types of threats have happened before, but the threat of using violence is quite rare. Mostly, criminals tend to use ransomware, which has proved to be very profitable it seems. According to Sophos, a cybersecurity company, SamSam ransomware has produced an estimate of more than $6 million worth of BTC since the year 2015.
About 3 months ago, a Norwegian BTC mining startup was sent bomb threats following conflict about noise from their farm Kryptovault with individuals who resided in the area. This is one isolated incident in which violence was used as a threat.