CheapAir, the popular online travel agency, posted on their blog that they received threats involving a social media smear campaign if they didn’t pay up $10,000 in Bitcoin.
CheapAir.com is a site used by many travelers that are looking for cheap airline tickets and booking discounts. The company has had become very popular among crypto enthusiasts for its payment options.
It was among one of the first companies to accept bitcoin for flight and hotel bookings back in 2013. CEO Jeff Klee noticed how bitcoin’s price growth in 2017 generated an “unprecedented increase in sales with the digital currency.”
But some extortionists recently contacted the site’s social media team and asked for a cryptocurrency payout.
On August 28th, CheapAir posted on its blog details regarding a “credible-cyber threat” in which the ransom was demanded to be paid in Bitcoin.
The post read that the extortionists made threats that they would conduct a social media smear campaign which would damage CheapAir’s relationship with their customers.
The hackers stated that they would not implement such tactics if the company paid them $10,000 worth of Bitcoins. Obviously, CheapAir responded that “paying these cyber thugs” was out of the question.
The CheapAir team said the hackers claimed they would have sent “thousands of negative items on our social media accounts,” posted bad reviews on websites such as Trustpilot, as well as ruining their SEO rankings by “spamming our blog backlinks with negative and profane anchor text.”
The post was meant to give customers a “full picture of what’s going on,” should they come across any dubious social media activity on CheapAir’s platforms.
In spite of having to deal with this type of threats, CheapAir still stands by its decision to offer cryptocurrency payments, even though many companies are starting to back out.
After Coinbase announced they were closing their doors earlier this year, CheapAir switched to another crypto payment processor– BTCPay. The company revealed that it was aiming to add even more crypto payment options like Bitcoin Cash, Dash, and Litecoin.
As news reports keep on showing us, scams and cyber threats in the crypto world continue to grow in number.