Indian IT firm Wipro receives an extortion email demanding of ₹500 crores (approx. $80 million) in bitcoin with the threat of a biological attack on its work campus.
IT giant Wipro, based in India’s technology capital of Bangalore, has received a bitcoin extortion email that carrying the threat of a biochemical attack at its campus based in the city.
Local reports reveal that the sender of the anonymous email has threatened to use Ricin, a natural toxic protein sourced from the extract of castor beans. Wipro received the threat over the weekend with the extortionist claiming that a 2-gram sample will be sent to one of Wipro’s offices in the coming days. One of the most poisonous substances on earth, a tablespoon of high-quality can kill an adult in a matter of days. The toxic protein is fatal when inhaled, mixed with water or taken as a pill.
The IT giant has lodged a complaint with the cyber-crime arm of the city’s police.
We confirm filing a complaint with local law enforcement authorities after receiving a threatening letter from an unidentified source.
According to one publication, police sources have revealed that the anonymous email was sent from a ProtonMail address, an encrypted email service. The threat, from ‘[email protected]’, added that one kilogram of Ricin had already been stored in Wipro’s offices.
While businesses are routinely targeted by extortionists demanding bitcoin with ransomware or cyberattacks (we've faced them on CCN), it is uncommon to see biological terrorism attacks demanding the cryptocurrency.
An investigation is currently underway. Perhaps notably, law enforcement officials have claimed that the IP address of the anonymous email has already been traced.
“We are already investing the case and have got some initial clues. We are looking at all possibilities, including insiders or previous employees who would have done this to scare others,” stated deputy commissioner of police Anand Kumar. ” We have also tracked the IP address.”
The city’s cyber sleuths have also registered the case as a cyber terrorism threat.
For its part, Wipro claims that the threat has not disrupted its operations.
“Wipro has augmented security measures at all its office locations. There is no impact on the company's operations. We have no further comments as the investigation is ongoing,” the IT giant said, in a statement.
Wipro is notable in the cryptocurrency space as a founding member of the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance, a cross-industry consortium of banking, technology and information giants developing Ethereum-based blockchain applications for enterprises.
Featured image of Castor Bean plant from Shutterstock.