Businesses, schools, hospitals, and other institutions around the country received what appeared to be hoax bomb threats in their email inboxes Thursday, demanding ransom payment in bitcoin in exchange for not blowing up their facilities.
“I can call off my man if you make a transfer,” said one, published by the Cedar Rapids (Iowa) Police Department. “20.000 dollars is the cost for your life and business. Pay it to me in BTC and I warrant that I will withdraw my man and the device won’t detonate.”
Generally, published versions of the threats appear to be generic messages not actually geared to any particular organization.
Other threats have been reported around the country, leading to police investigations and evacuations. People were evacuated from a Georgia courthouse, reports the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, and schools around the country evacuated or took other actions to protect students. Newspapers including Park City, Utah’s Park Record and Raleigh, North Carolina’s News and Observer reportedly evacuated their buildings as well.
So far, police agencies say no actual explosives have been found. Local, state, and federal authorities are investigating the threats.
The Cedar Rapids message ended with an odd disclaimer: “If the explosive device detonates and the authorities see this letter: We are not terrorists and dont assume any liability for explosions in other places.”
At this time, it appears that these threats are meant to cause disruption and/or obtain money. We’ll respond to each call regarding these emails to conduct a search but we wanted to share this information so the credibility of these threats can be assessed as likely NOT CREDIBLE.
— NYPD NEWS (@NYPDnews) December 13, 2018
Apple has just announced plans to build a new $1 billion campus in Austin. It is also going to open two smaller sites in Seattle, San Diego, and Culver City, California–as well as has plans to expand in other cities too, including Pittsburgh; New York; Boston; Boulder, Colorado; and Portland, Oregon.
According to the company’s press release, the new site in Texas will be 133 acres and will provide as many as 15,000 new jobs. This is part of the company’s pledge to expand domestically. Apple had given itself the goal of adding 20,000 new jobs in the U.S. by 2023.
Of course, Apple got a sweet deal out of the new campus, too. Axios reports that the state of Texas gave the computing giant a $25 million grant, along with “what’s likely to be tens of millions of dollars in local property tax abatements.” That’s not too much compared to the packages Virginia and New York gave Amazon in order to be the host cities for its new headquarters.
We’ll see how Austin locals react to this news. The city, like most other U.S. metropolises, is in the midst of an affordable housing crisis where it’s becoming harder for working class people to find adequate places to live. With a new billion-dollar campus comes the likelihood that housing will skyrocket more.
Apple says its new Austin campus will be less than a mile from the offices it already has there. This expansion will make it the largest private company operating in the Texas city.