Vice News reports that anonymous blackmailers have threatened to spread the Ebola virus in the Czech Republic unless they receive 1 million euros worth of bitcoins, payable in three installments. They claim to have gotten hold of “biological material” from an infected patient in Liberia.
The anonymity of Bitcoin has made it a favorite currency for extortionists. The effectiveness of their antics has been mixed. When attacking with ransomware, which locks a user’s files until a ransom is paid, attackers have experienced some limited success. Many users have submitted to the ransom, or at the very least, the attackers forced the hand of security experts to deploy a solution for their desperate clients.
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But in the alleged hacking of Satoshi Nakamoto’s inbox, the blackmailer got but a sprinkle for his demands of 25 BTC to reveal private information.
Here, the Czech government is at least giving some attention to the blackmailers. Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka called them “hyenas” for exploiting the ongoing fear of the Ebola threat. Their demands were also broadcast on the country’s top commercial TV station, TV Nova.
Two suspected cases of infection in the country have proven negative.