Norwegians all over the country were calling police on Sunday, after receiving emails from alleged hackers threatening extortion and demanding payment in bitcoins. Many of the mails look like they’re sent from the Norwegians’ own email addresses, and contain demands for money, claiming recipients allegedly have been caught visiting porn sites.
“It looks like someone has sent waves of emails to Norwegian users during the night and on Sunday,” Jonas Fabritius Christoffersen of the state crime unit Kripos told Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK). Kripos’ unit that specializes in organized crime was contacted by police districts in Oslo, Møre og Romsdal, the West Coast, Nordland and Troms, among others. The mails were written in Norwegian, with the sender claiming to represent a hacking operation that has gained control over the recipients’ electronic devices.
Bjarte Schrøen of the Vest Police District said he can understand that recipients were uneasy and are calling police. Most understand that the mails are false, however, when the sender claims to have evidence that the recipient visited a porn site, when no porn sites have indeed been visited.
Police were referring some callers to the Norwegian state agency in charge of information security, NorSIS, but also advising those calling to simply trash the mails and ignore the payment demands. Christoffersen claims the wave of emails is part of a major attempt at swindling. “When you see the extent ot this, there’s no doubt these mails have been sent out on a large scale and are not rooted in reality,” Christoffersen told NRK.