Several organizations across the United States with no apparent links to each other, such as universities, newspapers and Jewish centers, received bomb threats via e-mail on Thursday, the FBI said. Authorities in Canada and New Zealand also reported Thursday of bomb threats received in several cities in these countries.
At the moment, there are no indications that these warnings have been a real danger. In the US, the federal police said they were working with the local authorities in each of the cases and advised the public “to remain vigilant and alert of suspicious activities that may pose a threat to public safety.”
San Francisco in California was one of the cities in which several threats were received in different parts of the city, one of them in the Jewish Community Center, which had to be evacuated. The University of Washington in Seattle (Washington State) also received an alert, which the local police ended up calling “not credible” after investigating the place.
Other affected institutions were the Thurston County Courthouse in Olympia, Washington State, the Park Park, Utah, Utah, and Penn State University of Pennsylvania. Threats were also received from organizations in New York, Atlanta (Georgia), North Carolina and Miami (Florida).
Police in Chicago (Illinois) said that in the city 15 to 20 bomb threats have been received by email in the last hours). For the time being, none of the threats has been proven real and the FBI is keeping an investigation open at the national level. Last Tuesday, a Facebook campus building in Menlo Park, California was evicted because of a bomb threat and after an inspection of the building with anti-explosive units and dogs.
The police determined that “no suspicious packages or devices were found.” Evacuations in Canada, police in several cities in the country also warned on Thursday that a multitude of bomb threats had been received without, at the moment, indications of real danger.
The Ministry of Public Security of Canada said in a statement that it has information about the threats and asked citizens to notify the authorities “anything suspicious.” Toronto Police pointed out on Twitter that the subway network of this city had received a bomb threat and that one of the stations had been evacuated as a precaution.
In the Canadian capital, Ottawa, police announced in a statement that there were more than a dozen bomb threats by email “against local companies and individuals.” The note adds that the author or authors of the threat requested the payment of indeterminate amounts of bitcoin cryptocurrency.
King Subway Station
-A threat has been received
-Police are investigating
-King Subway Station has been evacuated
*Anyone with info that may assist in this investigation is asked to call police*#GO2285161
— Toronto Police OPS (@TPSOperations) 13 December 2018
“At the moment, all the threats have been considered unfounded,” the Ottawa Police added. Similar warnings were received in companies and individuals from other Canadian locations such as Montreal and Winnipeg. In some, the Police evicted the headquarters of threatened companies or institutions as a precautionary measure.
“Fraudulent” Finally, New Zealand authorities also investigate a series of emails indicating that explosives were placed in the work center of the recipient of the message, official sources said Thursday. The New Zealand cybersecurity agency CERT NZ indicated that it has evidence of sending these emails with bomb threats, similar to those received in Canada and the United States.
“While it is likely that this is an opportunistic fraud, the New Zealand Police is working on confirming the validity of the threats,” Cert nz said in a statement posted on its website. “They are very similar to emails received abroad, which are believed to be fraudulent threats,” he added. The New Zealand Police confirmed on Friday that at least three cases of sending these emails have been reported.