There is a fear every parent holds close to them while sending their children to school- the threat that someone is going to harm them. The parents of children at over 400 schools had their worst nightmare come true. Schools were being targeted by American hackers with a bomb threat hoax.
Hackers threaten schools with a ransom
After receiving the threatening email, police all across the country began launching investigations. Emergency evacuation plans were made for the students’ protection during this time. The email was written partially in Arabic and claimed there was a student sent in with a bomb that would be set off within three hours if the ransom amount was not sent to them immediately. The hackers threatened to blow up the device if the amount of $5,000 was not sent. They claimed if authorities were called the device would be blown up on the spot and any attempt to defuse the bomb would cause immediate explosion.
Evacuation of the students
Parents were sent messages during the time of the threat about the evacuation and to have their children picked up immediately. Some parents were not near the school at the time of the threat to pick their children up, and in this case, their children were evacuated to a nearby destination. For most schools, the evacuation process went smoothly and normal activity resumed after given the ‘all clear’.
The threats were thought to originate from the U.S. after the investigation of malicious communication began by police forces across the UK. Detectives believe the hoax to be considered national originating in the United States. Humberside Police Det Supt Tony Cockerill claimed the threats were not credible after further investigation. Schools were notified of the hoax and were reassured that there was, in fact, no threat nor need for evacuation. Yorkshire Police detectives concluded there was no genuine threat to the messages upon further review.
Targeted by hackers
The details of the email concluded that it was from VeltPvp, a server from the game Minecraft, later claiming there was no connection between the two. The chief executive of VELT, Carson Kallen, reported that the email was believed to be from a group of hackers that have been targeting the company and its employees over the past few weeks over social media. They claimed harassment from this group of hackers stating that they were being targeted by these criminals in every way possible. Kallen offered apologies to all involved with the hoax and assured the victims involved that it was indeed a fake threat.
No cause for alarm
National police are aware of the hoax threats through school communications across the country and gave assurance that forces are working on an investigation of the hoax. Whether fake or not, police forces take these threats extremely seriously and intend on establishing the facts to determine the responsible party. The public should not feel alarmed as police are determined to get to the bottom of every hoax and threat that has caused any disruption of activities.