24,000 e-mail threats sent to 400 schools in the U.K. seem to have been the result of friction between players on a Minecraft multiplayer game server.
The body of the threat was posted to Twitter by user @SuchSpeed:
— Tom (@SuchSpeed) March 19, 2018
“This is a message to EVERYONE,” it reads. “We have sent in a student with a bomb. The bomb is set to go off in 3 hours time. If you do not send $5,000 USD to email@example.com.”
After linking to the address with which the player-versus-player Minecraft server collects donations, the threat concludes with a bizarre ultimatum: “If you do not send the money! We will blow up the device. Our site has all the information needed (veltpvp.com). If you try to call the cops we WILL blowup the device on the SPOT! ANY attempt at defusing it your self will cause it to explode.” (sic)
Despite evacuations, the UK police have decided that this does not represent a “viable threat.” Detective Superintendent Tony Cockerill said: “We have spoken to all schools who have contacted us, reassured them that there is no need to evacuate and offered them security advice.” Assistant Chief Constable Vanessa Jardine of Greater Manchester Police reiterated that “…there is not believed to be any direct threat following these reports which at this stage are believed to be malicious hoax communications.”
We have had a number of calls this morning about a bomb hoax at many of our region's schools. All of the schools have been spoken to and there is not believed to be any viable threats #ProudToProtect pic.twitter.com/iGafyMfAvx
— Northumbria Police (@northumbriapol) March 19, 2018
Sky News further reports that the threats were allegedly purposely spoofed by a rival server in an attempt to sabotage VeltPvP. Speaking to an alleged hoaxer, they were told that VeltPvP’s own actions were “horrible.” He accused them of attacking other servers for their own benefit.
Meanwhile, VeltPvP has simply stated via Twitter: “We have nothing to do with the bomb threats that were sent out to the 400+ UK schools. We’ve been being harassed by a group of cyber criminals that are trying to harass us in anyway possible. We’re extremely sorry for anyone who had to deal with this, but just know it’s fake.”