At least four pizza parlors across the United States have reported receiving a stamped envelope containing a notice of extortion.
When you hear extortion, your first thought might be organized crime. This digital extortionist's methods, however, are purposefully disorganized.
Business owners reported receiving a letter claiming that they had been randomly selected for extortion. If they couldn't pay by a certain date -- one letter had an August deadline -- their businesses would be slandered, threatened, and would face accusations of violating local health codes.
The letter directed the business owners to pay in bitcoin, an untraceable digital currency. This could explain the lengthy deadline for the business owners to pay their ransom. Sandra Alhilo, the general manager of a California pizza parlor explained his reaction to the threat on Krebs on Security.
“At first, I was laughing because I thought it had to be a joke,” Alhilo said in a phone interview. “It was funny until I went and posted it on our Facebook page, and then people put it on Reddit and the Internet got me all paranoid.”