Amsterdam businesses have been sent a ransom email, where they must choose between paying up in Bitcoin or face an explosive end.
Reported by local news outlet, NLTimes, the business within the city of Amsterdam are being extorted for 50,000 EUR worth of bitcoins. The failure to comply with the extortion will lead the business to either be subjected to planted hand grenades or a drive by shooting. The businesses targeted have been ordered to shut down operations until the criminals make good on their threats or until the explosives have been located. The threat of hand grenades is very real, as Chief Commissioner Pieter-Jaap Aalbersberg has stated that they can be obtained for as little as 5 to 20 euros.
Business owners have already experienced terrorist attacks as one clothing store was destroyed by a hail of bullets, while half an hour later police received a tip that a hand grenade had been placed at the Surinamese restaurant. Within one week, grenades have been involved in three incident in the city. Most recently, an explosive was found at a company building in Zuidoost and another hand grenade at the door of a hotel in Oud-Zuid.
NLTimes reported a portion of the email given to the businesses:
“You probably noticed how many entrepreneurs have had to close their doors recently by order of the municipality. To prevent you from being the next one, you must immediately take action.”
The Dutch companies are then instructed to create an account on coinmama.com or coinbase.com, buy 50 thousand euros in bitcoin, and transfer it to a specific address, with the promise “in good will” to consider the matter settled.
Continuing in the email:
“If we do not receive the amount of 100k within 5 days, we will make sure that you can close your doors. This can be done by shooting a bullet into your facade or tying a grenade to the front door. If we find out that you have filed a report or shared this message with someone else, we will immediately ensure that you can close the doors for at least 3 months. As soon as you get permission again from the municipality to open your doors, we will come again unless you pay 200k.”
This is not the first attempt of criminals trying to extort cryptocurrencies from companies and organizations. There have been many reports of systems being hacked and then having the files on the computers encrypted, restricting access from the rightful owner until the ransom has been delivered. This does seem to have set a precedent that instead of malware, they’ll be open to violence.