Feeds

Send Bitcoin or we'll hate-spam you on Yelp, say crims

Extortion letters demand cryptocurrency from pizza parlours

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

Businesses are being served printed 'Notice of Extortion' letters demanding Bitcoins to avoid 'severe and irreparable' damage to their reputation.

A handful of US Pizza restaurants have reported the scam to local newspapers, and to Reddit. The letters appear to come from the same extortionist.

The letters demanded payment of one Bitcoin (US$578) within a month or have the fee escalated to three coins (US$1730).

The villains threatened a laundry list of attacks for non-payment ranging from "negative online reviews" and complaints to the US Better Business Bureau, to denial of service attacks against telephones, mercury contamination and various reports to police of false financial crimes and drug production allegedly taking place at the victim business.

"Because many of the actions we take are catastrophic and irreversible, it is advised pay the tribute before the deadline is reached," the letters read.

Victim businesses refused to pay the extortion while Reddit users laughed at the 16 threats within the letter pointing out they functioned as a handy list of federal crimes which could see the attackers jailed should they be captured.

Others have suggested the attackers may be tracked using printer stenography, a technique that makes it possible to identify the make and model of printers used to create a document.

The owner of US pizza business GRPD Pizza and Delivery Mike Raymond told local station 24 Hour News 8 he thought the extortion letter was a joke.

"They’re taking your lunch money, and we’re not going to let them," he said.

Digital wallets linked to the letters did not appear to have recieved payments.

The letters were the latest vector for delivering Bitcoin ransoms, a favourite for online fraudsters due to the anonymity the currency afforded.

Such threats were typically issued by ransomware scammers demanding payment to unlock encrypted victim files, and by hackers threatening to leak sensitive information or launch distributed denial of service attacks unless money was paid. ®

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
FYI: OS X Yosemite's Spotlight tells Apple EVERYTHING you're looking for
It's on by default – didn't you read the small print?
Russian hackers exploit 'Sandworm' bug 'to spy on NATO, EU PCs'
Fix imminent from Microsoft for Vista, Server 2008, other stuff
Edward who? GCHQ boss dodges Snowden topic during last speech
UK spies would rather 'walk' than do 'mass surveillance'
Microsoft pulls another dodgy patch
Redmond makes a hash of hashing add-on
'LulzSec leader Aush0k' found to be naughty boy not worthy of jail
15 months home detention leaves egg on feds' faces as they grab for more power
China is ALREADY spying on Apple iCloud users, claims watchdog
Attack harvests users' info at iPhone 6 launch
Carders punch holes through Staples
Investigation launched into East Coast stores
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.