Bitcoin $78 Mln Ransom Demand Hits India’s IT Giant

Bangalore-based IT giant Wipro has said it received a Bitcoin ransom demand Friday threatening a biological attack on its campuses.

In an email sent to the company reported by local media, an attacker demands five bln rupees ($77.7 mln) be paid by May 25 to avoid the consequences.

Ongoing operation

“Wipro confirms that it has filed a complaint with the local law enforcement authorities after receiving a threatening letter from an unidentified source,” the company said in a statement.

“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 exact nature of the threats appears to be in the form of ricin samples being sent to contaminate food and washroom facilities at Wipro locations.

Ricin is a toxic substance produced naturally by the castor oil plant which when purified can kill an adult in very small doses.

According to local news resource NDTV, the email also stated a two-gram shipment would be sent to Wipro “in the coming days.”

While a similar demand in 2013 turned out to be a hoax, the media coverage provides further public image problems for Bitcoin in a country where it is already regarded with suspicion by certain parties.

Politicians and the central bank have frequently warned about or voiced their distrust of Bitcoin in particular, while recent criminal investigations involving both Bitcoin and alleged MLM scheme OneCoin scheme have all made the national headlines.