Florida colleges receive extortion demands to avert attacks on campuses (UPDATED)

Stephanie Brown reports:

An extortion email apparently sent to several colleges and universities demands payment in Bitcoin, threatening to commit an attack against campus students and faculty.

We first told you Wednesday that the University of North Florida confirmed they had received an emailed extortion threat. The UNF Crime Alert said law enforcement believed the threat was “likely non-credible”, but that state and federal partners continued to investigate, in an effort to find out who was responsible.

UNF is not disclosing the contents of the email they received, but our partner Action News Jax obtained the email that was sent to Hillsborough Community College. Action News Jax also checked with the University of Florida, where a spokesperson says she believes this threat was the same as UNF received.

Read more on WOKV.

Okay, I probably know what you’re wondering. I’m curious, too, but no one’s posted a copy of the threat email, so there’s not enough information to go on. The reporting doesn’t even clearly indicate whether either of the colleges were actually hacked and data exfiltrated or what.

If anyone has more details on these threats, please let me know.

Updated:  A report from TBO provides additional details that sound familiar to me. Noting that it is not yet clear how many institutions received the 1,250-word message from the threat actors, or whether it was limited to Florida, they report that:

The suspicious email is written so that it doesn’t make any reference to a specific campus or institution. It demands a payment of 1.2 bitcoin, or about $18,035 in the volatile, untraceable digital currency.

Should the recipient refuse, the sender threatens to wage a campaign of confusion, making repeated false threats of bombings and mass shootings.

“One of these threats will be legitimate. Which one will be a surprise,” the email reads. “You will be forced to evacuate the campus.”

The sender adds a dramatic twist: “Every night I will roll a single die. If a six comes up, I will instruct my compatriots to follow through on the attack and kill as many people as possible … It will be public knowledge that you failed to take this threat seriously.”


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