Bengaluru Police to seek Interpol help to probe hoax calls to schools
Police suspect that these emails could have originated from some foreign country hence reaching out to the investigating agency will help in the probe.
Bengaluru police will seek Interpol’s assistance to investigate a series of hoax bomb threat emails sent to many schools in the city last week, a senior police officer familiar with the development said.
The city police will write to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), the nodal agency for coordinating with the Interpol, on the matter, the officer said.
The International Criminal Police Organization, commonly known as Interpol, facilitates worldwide police cooperation and crime control.
Police suspect that these emails could have originated from some foreign country hence reaching out to the investigating agency will help in the probe, the officer said, adding that police have communicated with relevant service providers, seeking technical aid in the ongoing inquiry.
Last Friday, 68 schools in Bengaluru received bomb threat emails, prompting the evacuation of over 5,000 students for inspection by the anti-sabotage and bomb squads of the city police. A total of 27 First Information Reports (FIRs) have been registered over the bomb threats.
Bengaluru Police Commissioner B Dayananda said, “We are trying to find out who sent the emails and from where. We are in touch with the service providers. On Monday, a detailed meeting was held on the investigation. Some of the cases registered last year under similar circumstances were analysed. We are trying to find out if there is a common pattern between the previous year’s threats and the recent ones.”
Dayananda added that six similar emails were received the previous year, and efforts were made to compare them with the present cases. “However, differences in content and service providers were identified. The police have sought assistance from text and content-reading experts to understand the motives behind such emails,” he said.
The commissioner emphasised the suspicion on foreigners’ involvement, prompting police to seek aid from the international investigating agency and reach out to the service providers for technical support. “We have decided to send the content of the emails to experts to analyse it and find out the motive behind such emails. According to the open source information, similar emails were sent to several schools in the US, Germany, Canada, and Malaysia,” Dayananda said.
Addressing the challenges of tracing the source due to VPN and proxy server usage, the commissioner noted that if necessary, they would engage with foreign countries through proper channels. “However, there is a difference in the content and email IDs of the threat mails of the previous year and present year. Since VPN and proxy servers are used, detecting the source or origin has its technical challenges. If there is a need, we will contact foreign countries through proper channels,” he said.
On April 8, 2022, around 16 schools in Bengaluru had received hoax bomb threat emails. The same year, police filed a case under charges of cyber terrorism, leading to an investigation into the matter. The probe led police to a minor boy in Tamil Nadu who had created a bot which was used to send the mail. “However, we found that he was not involved and the emails were eventually traced to Pakistan,” said a deputy inspector general of police ranked officer, who probed that case