Twenty-seven FIRs have been registered by the Bengaluru police in connection with the email bomb threats received by 68 schools in and around Bengaluru on December 1, Commissioner of Police B Dayananda said Tuesday.
The police will also reach out to service providers from whose servers the emails were sent as well as the Interpol division in the CBI for information from foreign countries where similar email bomb threats to schools have been reported, he said.
“We have filed 27 cases with respect to the bomb threats at different police stations. Last year in April there were similar threats in six places. The 27 current cases and the six cases from 2022 (which remain undetected) are being investigated now,” he said. “According to the open source information that we have, these types of incidents have occurred in different countries in the world including the US, Germany, Trinidad and Malaysia. We are trying to find out what happened with investigations in other countries.”
Twenty-seven mails were specifically marked to some of the 68 schools while other schools were copied on these mails, he said.
In two isolated cases, reported from Rajarajeshwari Nagar and Basaveshwaranagar in 2022, juveniles were found to have sent the threats, according to the police.
The December 1 email bomb threats, which resulted in the school day being thrown out of gear at many places, were sent from variations of email IDs registered with at least two service providers and carried multiple time stamps ranging from 5.45 am to 7 am on December 1, early police investigations have revealed.
The police have constituted a special team under an additional commissioner and consisting of cyber crime police officers to investigate the threats. The FIRs were filed under Information Technology Act sections 66 C and 66 D as well as Indian Penal Code sections 506 and 295A for criminal intimidation and malicious acts to outrage religious feelings.
The police have not invoked IT Act section 66F, which covers cyber terrorism, on account of the hoax nature of the bomb threats, sources said. They are looking at whether the threats were a part of similar incidents that had occurred in different parts of the world, including some linked to social media dares.
The investigations have revealed that the mails were sent with the firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com addresses. The mails were sent to the schools’ email ID that were in the public domain.
The senders accessed the email servers using masked virtual private networks to send the threat mails, police sources said.
In April 2022, 16 schools in Bengaluru received bomb threats from mail IDs including firstname.lastname@example.org. “Unlike the emails sent in 2022, the current mails seem to have a more serious tone and stand. We are viewing the case in a serious manner this time,” a police officer said.