The cryptocurrency world is no stranger to disputes and scams. As each day passes, it has become evident that some community members will continue to use digital assets for nefarious purposes.
According to recent reports, hotels in the city of Mumbai have received threats that Bitcoin is being demanded as ransom. Four high-end hotels in Mumbai were searched from top to bottom over the past couple of days after emails claiming to be from Lashkar-e-Taiba threatened to blow up these places. The emails demanded that they be paid 100 Bitcoin ransoms if the authorities did not want a task on their hands.
The perpetrators mentioned in the mail that they needed the 100 Bitcoin to be transferred 24 hours before they were forced to take drastic action. In addition, the letter also stated that the attackers intended to abduct and kill the employees ‘ families if they were unable to blow up the hotel.
The management of the Seven-Eleven Club at Mira Road was in shock when they received the attack. The club is currently owned by former BJP MLA Narendra Mehta and stretches over 10 acres. The staff confirmed that the hotel had received an e-mail at 4 a.m. and instructions on how to transfer the ransom.
Sources indicate that the 100 Bitcoin had to be transferred discreetly within a set timeframe. Bitcoin’s fungible property allows it to be sent and received without anyone being able to track the transaction. Deven Bharti, Chief of the State Anti-Terrorism Force, stated that the search was equally as intense in the other suspected locations. They were not able to get an exact lock on the email location as the addresses used were fake.
Shantaram Walvi, the deputy superintendent of police revealed that the ATS and the bomb squad were on full alert across the length and bread of the premises. To ensure that the proceedings adhere to the legal frameworks, the general manager of Seven Miles has registered multiple FIRs with the police. This includes IPC 505 [intent to incite], IPC 384 [extortion] and IPC 387 [putting persons in fear of death in order to commit extortion].
Bitcoin being used as a weapon in ransomware cases is nothing new as several culprits around the world have done it before. It might be hard to locate the real attackers in this case because India has no strong relationship with cryptocurrency and blockchain technology. Despite this, the authorities have been out to ensure that such an incident does not happen again and that they are always prepared.