Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Alison Dirr, USA Today: Wave of bomb threats hits schools nationwide

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Wave of bomb threats hits schools nationwide

A wave of threats directed at schools across the nation on Monday forced authorities to lock down buildings or evacuate students.
The threats, which appear to be driven by automated calls, were directed at elementary, middle and high schools in at least 18 states across four time zones.
Some districts reported that the calls included a bomb threat while others just described the calls as "threatening."
Ken Trump, a national school security expert and president of a school security consulting firm, said Monday’s nationwide bomb hoaxes have the hallmarks of swatting.
Swatting, according to Trump, are “highly disruptive” hoax threats that are intended to trigger massive police response. Trump said they are often described as robotic, computer-generated voices that call in threats to schools or police departments.
A single swatting case can impact multiple states, jurisdictions and even travel across international borders, Trump said.
Trump said swatting incidents have “skyrocketed” nationwide in the past two years.
“(Swatting) suspects are often more sophisticated,” he said. “They can use Voice Over IP (Internet Protocol) systems or other technologies that can be virtually impossible to track down.”

                 "It's the first one that I can recall that's been of this nature, where it's been an automated call                     or a robo kind of call and that it's been widespread — not just next door to us but across the                       state and the country," he said.
                 In the United Kingdom, at least 21 schools received bomb threats as well, according to The                       IndependentThe Daily Mail reported 26 schools were closed.

   The USA TODAY NETWORK has not confirmed that any of the threats are connected.