Thursday’s massive spam campaign that sent bomb threats to hundreds of thousands of users across the US and Canada, and caused evacuations of buildings across several cities, was carried out by the same group of spammers responsible for the recent wave of sextortion scams, two cyber-security firms said on Friday.
“Multiple IPs involved in sending these bomb threats also sent various types of sextortion email that we saw in the previous campaign,” said Jaeson Schultz of Cisco Talos.
According to AppRiver, the bomb threat emails and the older sextortion campaigns all came from the 194.58.X.X IP space.
The bomb threats send on Thursday tried to scare users by threating to detonate a bomb at their workplace if the victim didn’t pay $20,000 worth of Bitcoin within a few hours.
The spammers behind this campaign stopped sending bomb threats on Friday, most likely realizing that this campaign won’t yield any results, especially after the FBI, the police, and the media told everyone to ignore the threats and not pay the ransom demand.
And according to Cisco Talos, no one did. Schultz said that Talos discovered 17 Bitcoin addresses inside the bomb threat extortion emails, but none held any money.
“Only two of the addresses have a positive balance, both from transactions received Dec. 13, the day the attacks were distributed,” Schultz said. “However, the amounts of each transaction were under $1, so it is evident the victims in this case declined to pay the $20,000 extortion payment price demanded by the attackers.”
But the spammers have not given up. Talos said that as soon as their bomb threat campaign appeared to hit a dead end, the group switched to another one.
“The attackers have returned to their empty threats of harming the individual recipient,” Schultz said. “This time, they threaten to throw acid on the victim.” A copy of an email carrying this latest threat is available below.
In October, another Cisco Talos report revealed that the group behind this week’s bomb threats, at that time operating using the “sextortion” scheme, made $146,380 in just three days’ work.
More cybersecurity coverage:
Key Criteria for Evaluating Unified Endpoint Management
Endpoint management is one of the most significant challenges in the enterprise today. An increasingly large percentage of our workforce is distributed and demands flexibility to work wherever they want, whenever they want. We must respond by giving them access to the services they require to do their jobs effectively. The alternative is that we, as a business, will suffer, lose good people, and become less competitive. However, we must achieve this essential access while maintaining security and control of our business’s data assets.
An appropriate endpoint management strategy is key to addressing these issues. Our approach should be holistic and unified, bringing together control of devices, management of applications, security of data, and access controls.
Unified endpoint management (UEM) is the approach to meeting this challenge. It has evolved from traditionally disparate solutions for endpoint management, application delivery, and security into a single platform. This single platform delivers a consistent end-user experience across all devices, applications, and locations while maintaining security and control of data assets. The leading solutions allow us to enroll devices easily into our control, provide support, and ensure constituency and compliance while managing access to our applications and data.
This GigaOM Key Criteria Report describes UEM solutions and identifies key criteria and evaluation metrics for selecting such a solution. The corresponding GigaOm Radar Report identifies vendors and products that excel in this sector. Together, these reports give decision-makers an overview of the market to help them evaluate existing platforms and decide where to invest.
How to Read this Report
This GigaOm report is one of a series of documents that helps IT organizations assess competing solutions in the context of well-defined features and criteria. For a fuller understanding consider reviewing the following reports:
Key Criteria report: A detailed market sector analysis that assesses the impact that key product features and criteria have on top-line solution characteristics—such as scalability, performance, and TCO—that drive purchase decisions.
GigaOm Radar report: A forward-looking analysis that plots the relative value and progression of vendor solutions along multiple axes based on strategy and execution. The Radar report includes a breakdown of each vendor’s offering in the sector.
Solution Profile: An in-depth vendor analysis that builds on the framework developed in the Key Criteria and Radar reports to assess a company’s engagement within a technology sector. This analysis includes forward-looking guidance around both strategy and product.
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Data Storage for Ever Changing Business Needs
Join GigaOm analyst Enrico Signoretti and CTERA CTO Aron Brand in this one-hour live webinar as they explore file storage trends and dynamics through the lens of IT infrastructure modernization projects.
The file and cloud experts will discuss the limitations of traditional NAS architectures in today’s corporate environments and how organizations are implementing distributed cloud file storage to solve remote collaboration, ransomware protection, and unstructured data growth challenges.
Signoretti and Brand will also examine the recently published GigaOm Radar for Distributed Cloud File Storage, in which CTERA was named the leader. They will review the report’s key criteria and evaluation metrics for choosing a distributed cloud file storage platform, helping IT leaders to understand which vendors are most aligned to their needs today as well as 12-18 months down the road.
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High Performance Application Security Testing – Cloud WAF Security Platforms
This free 1-hour webinar from GigaOm Research features analyst Jake Dolezal and will focus on comparing Web Application Firewall (WAF) security platforms in an enterprise with high performance needs.
This webinar will discuss web application security mechanisms deployed in the cloud. The cloud enables enterprises to differentiate and innovate with microservices at a rapid pace. However, the cloud is just as vulnerable, if not more so, to attacks and breaches as on-premises APIs and apps are. Our focus is specifically on approaches to securing apps, APIs, and microservices that are tuned for high performance and availability. We define “high performance” as companies that experience workloads of more than 1,000 transactions per second (tps) and require a maximum latency below 30 milliseconds across the landscape.
In this webinar, we will reveal the performance tests of security mechanisms on NGINX, AWS, and Azure, specifically: ModSecurity, NGINX App Protect WAF, AWS Web Application Firewall (WAF), and Azure WAF.
Register now to join GigaOm and NGINX for this free expert webinar.
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