Russian spammers the likely source of fake email bomb threats, IT experts say
December 13, 2018
AVON — Russian spammers appear to be the source of email bomb threats that blanketed the region and nation, says an IT director with a regional media company.
Following the investigation of all reports, it was determined that no credible threats existed, the Eagle County Sheriff's Office said.
Local and national spam
Several businesses and individuals around the Vail Valley, including employees with the Vail Daily and its parent company, Swift Communications, are among those across the country who received a bomb threat email early Thursday afternoon.
"To the best of our ability, we have determined these emails are hoaxes. The threats are non-specific in nature and appear to follow a spam message pattern," Chris Allison, IT manager with Swift Communications, Inc. said in an email to employees. "After investigation, we found that all emails originate from Russian spammers.
"They are looking to incite panic and, thereby, force a payment."
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The threats asked for several things, including crypto currency, the Eagle County Sheriff's Office said.
The threats said that if their demands are not met, "a small but damaging device will be detonated," according to Tracy LeClair, public information officer with the Eagle River Fire Protection District.
Local businesses, buildings
The Eagle County Sheriff's Office and Avon Police Department responded to Falcon Point Condominiums in Avon and Post Montane in Beaver Creek. Both were evacuated, LeClair said.
An additional bomb threat was received at the Marriott Streamside on South Frontage Road in West Vail. That incident is also being investigated.
The bomb threats appear to be nationwide, naming news outlets, government buildings, libraries, schools and other businesses across the country, national news outlets are reporting.
In the Vail Valley, no local schools have been threatened, the Eagle County school district said. Schools in other parts of Colorado were locked down because of the threats.
"We are monitoring the situation, but at present there are no risks to our schools, but afternoon transportation may be impacted," the school district said in a message to parents.
Employees and emergency responders were following bomb threat procedures established during annual drills. No devices have been located at this time, LeClair said.
So far, authorities in Jefferson County and Mesa County, Colorado have turned up nothing, the Sheriff's Office said.
Local officials and law enforcement agencies are asking the community to remain vigilant.
If you receive the latest 'Bomb Threat' email that is being reported across the county, the state and the nation, or if anyone locates anything suspicious or out of place, call 911.
Local law enforcement agencies will continue to investigate threats as needed.
"There is no need to evacuate unless you feel unsafe or are asked to do so by law enforcement," the Sheriff's Office said.
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