UPDATE 2/9/16 – Rhode Island State Police Col. Stephen O’Donnell confirms that the electronic trail traces back to St. Petersburg, Russia
Confirmed by the Providence Journal
A Russian hacker group known as “EvacuationSquad” claims it’s behind thousands of bomb threats at schools around the world, saying it’s using a stolen VOIP account to make them — and there will be more.
Thousands of schools all across the United States, the UK, France, Australia, Japan and South Africa have been targeted by these hoax bomb threats.
Schools here in Newport, RI have been targeted for four days in a row. Schools in Middletown, RI and Warwick, RI were also subject to threats this week.
Hundreds of schools across the United States have been receiving these calls including those in Arizona, California, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Virginia and Wisconsin.
The group is taking “requests” to cause evacuations at schools, offices, courts and sporting events across the world.
A recent Paste Bin post from the group, which claims to be six members based internationally and uses servers based in Russia and Iran, reads:
“Hello, and we are EvacuationSquad. We do what we do for a few reasons: We hate the American government, we hate authority and we LOVE to cause mayhem.”
“Until March, 2015, you may send in requests for your school/work/business/etc to be sent a bomb threat. After March 1st, of 2015, we will be accepting Bitcoin only as payment.”
The posts lists prices from $5 for a school bomb threat to $50 for a major sporting event and also provides the option the frame someone for the threats by providing their contact details and social media accounts.
Twitter has suspended the accounts of two EvacuationSquad members who claimed responsibility for the calls.