What’s the last thing you did out of anger? Kick an innocent door-frame and hurt yourself? Eat the last slice of pie so your sibling/partner can’t have it? Maybe something truly vicious like posting on an Internet message board (probably anonymously)? Or did you go down the crazy ex route and set fire to your ex’s clothing?
Whatever you did (please don’t do set anyone’s clothes on fire) it probably doesn’t even come close to what went down two days ago. Hundreds of schools across the U.K. received bomb threats via email this Monday. Overall more than 400 of them got this kind of mail, and consequently ended up closing their doors for the day.
Because of the saddest of all reasons – a Minecraft server rivalry. Schools evacuated students and faculty alike upon receiving the threats, as they all had to be taken seriously – just in case. After all, what school could take the risk of endangering their kids?
Well, some of the students probably enjoyed the impromptu day off, but the involved authorities certainly didn’t think it was all that funny. The Northumbria Police department eventually issued a statement confirming that the incident was a hoax.
“Detectives have looked into the emails – which appear to originate from the US – and can confirm that there is no viable threat,” the department said. That was definitely a big relief for the schools, kids, parents and everyone else involved. Other police departments followed suit and issued similar statements.
According to a report by Sky News the reports were ‘spoofed’ to look like they were coming from VeltPvP. Obviously, this wasn’t too well done, so it was found out fairly quickly. If you’re wondering why this happened…some jokester decided to do the whole thing in an attempt to get the site’s domain suspended. Needless to say, this did not work, and VeltPvP was in no way at fault or involved.
Apparently, Sky News spoke to one of the perpetrators of the hoax, and got an explanation of what caused it. According to that (alleged) perpetrator, the whole thing happened in retaliation for DDoS attacks carried out by VeltPvP against other, unnamed Minecraft sites.
This is unconfirmed, however whether it’s true or not, the fact that the hoax-perpetrators involved hundreds of UK schools and thus thousands of innocent and uninvolved children is absolutely deplorable. Although none of them were in any danger at any point, the whole incident went one step too far.
When asked whether the perp felt remorse for what happened, apparently the answer was: “Mentally, kind of, yes – that’s human nature – but within the community, you have to become very thick skinned or you’ll get exploited.” We’re not sure whether the complete disregard for other people or the implication of there being worse things going on in the community is the more terrible take-away here.
The emails sent out – 24000 of them, by the way – stated that a student carrying a bomb had been sent into the school, and that the bomb would explode three hours from the reception of the email. That is, unless the school sent $5000 USD to firstname.lastname@example.org. If someone received an email like that, they would normally assume that it’s spam (and probably not from the person to whom the email belongs), but schools just can’t take that risk.
VeltPvP told Sky News that the DDoS allegations made by the hoax perpetrators were false, and made additional statements of Twitter confirming they were not involved in any of it. They apologised to the victims of the hoax and assured that they were being harassed by a group of cyber criminals.
The 17-year old CEO of VeltPvP, Carson Kalle told Kotaku via email that the whole thing is a one-sided fight rather than a feud – he suspects an unnamed former member of the server, that had been banned for bad behaviour.
The server apparently has around and up to 100k users per day, most of which are minors. There have been previous incidents of swatting attempts and targetted harassment, however not at this scale. The involvement of innocent children in an entirely different country – the perpetrator is almost certainly based in the US – is absolutely deplorable, and will hopefully result in the arrest and persecution of whoever is responsible for it.
On a lighter note, we have no information on whether any of the schools actually tried to pay the ransom – we sincerely hope they did not, but would be very interested in VeltPvPs payment return and refund options if they had. We’d imagine $5000 would purchase a fair amount of services and support on the server.
On another funny note, police have released a photo of the suspect: