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University of Pittsburgh Deluged With Internet Bomb Threats

timothy posted about 2 years ago | from the other-than-that-how-was-your-valentine's-mr-moran? dept.

Crime 238

An anonymous reader writes "The University of Pittsburgh has been plagued with 78 bomb threats (and counting) since February 14. It started low-tech, with handwritten notes, but has progressed to anonymous emails. Nearly every campus building has been a target. The program suspected is anonymous mailer Mixmaster. The university has been evacuating each building when threats come in (day or night), and police departments from around Allegheny County have offered assistance with clearing each building floor by floor with bomb sniffing dogs. There is a popular tracking blog set up by a student as well as a growing Reddit community. Is there any foreseeable defense (forensic or socially engineered) to a situation like this?"

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238 comments

Defense (4, Insightful)

Sperbels (1008585) | about 2 years ago | (#39666131)

Defense=stop taking every bomb threat as a credible threat.

Re:Defense (4, Insightful)

Bitsy Boffin (110334) | about 2 years ago | (#39666169)

And how do you know which ones ARE credible?

Who is to say this isn't a program of desensitisation, imagine the headlines "Bomb threat ignored, 300 dead"

Re:Defense (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39666225)

Easy formula: No bomb threats are credible. Actual bombings are in the vast majority of cases not preceded by threats. You might as well evacuate a building every time a squirrel shits on the lawn, because the correlation between that event and an actual bombing is about as strong as it is between bombings and bomb threats.

Re:Defense (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39666271)

Stop and use your head. Consider the result, if just once, they don't evacuate and something horrible happens.

Now you understand the problem.

Re:Defense (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39666601)

I believe he is right. If someone wants to bomb, they will not warn you, they will just do it. Evacuating on a bomb threat is different than evacuating on a bomb tip. If someone tips that there is a bomb, or that they saw something suspicious, they will usually come forward with their name, you'll be able to track them. An anonymous bomb threat is just that, it means nothing. It's as real as the end of the world scenario, and I better hope that you don't let those control your life.

Re:Defense (1)

SJHillman (1966756) | about 2 years ago | (#39667001)

Like RIT's recent gun tip. Turned out to be an umbrella with a samurai sword handle. Which can totally be mistaken for a gun stock.

Re:Defense (4, Insightful)

Ihmhi (1206036) | about 2 years ago | (#39666735)

Stop and use your head. Consider the result, if just once, they don't evacuate and something horrible happens.

Now you understand the problem.

Okay. Someone is talented enough to make a pipe bomb, but not something to destroy an entire building.

So, they make a whole bunch of them and bury them in the grass on the quad where everyone assembles in an evacuation.

Then, after everyone evacuates and follows the rules...

Re:Defense (3, Insightful)

NeverSuchBefore (2613927) | about 2 years ago | (#39666941)

Consider this: sometimes there are casualties. That's a fact of life. If something is highly unlikely, then it can probably be safely ignored.

Re:Defense (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39667143)

Yeah, someone with a a high-pay, low-work job with sweet benefits and pensions will get scapegoated, because that's how modern America works. That's the "something horrible" that might happen. It's better to inconvenience thousands of students and waste God-knows how many police man-hours than have some cushy 10% bureaucrat risk losing his job.

Re:Defense (4, Insightful)

alphatel (1450715) | about 2 years ago | (#39666627)

Bomb threats are a federal crime. Remailers aren't open proxies, they are servers designed to provide reasonably anonymous mailflow from a source to a destination and they are operated by generally very law-abiding individuals. The US federal gov't can easily step in, ask remailers to either reveal the sender, log the connections or deny. Ultimately no matter how crafty you are, if you hit a remailer with logging, you will get nabbed no matter how many you walk through on your way to breaking the law. You can get away with this once or twice and if you never do it again it's highly unlikely you will ever be found. But 78 times?
Someone is going to get nabbed and sadly, it might not be the person who started the chain.

Re:Defense (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39667033)

Out of country proxies, VPS that don't keep logs, encryption... if they used a combination of those, the police are pretty much screwed, sadly.

Re:Defense (4, Interesting)

Sperbels (1008585) | about 2 years ago | (#39666247)

Desensitization to what? Why would a real bomber warn anyone? I'm wondering... in the whole country, how many bomb threats actually turned out to be real? Have there even been any real ones? At some point we just have to say this is ridiculous and ignore them.

Re:Defense (5, Informative)

Spudley (171066) | about 2 years ago | (#39666479)

Why would a real bomber warn anyone?

Many terrorist groups routinely send bomb warnings when they have planted a bomb. During the troubles in Northern Ireland, the practice was so common that the IRA and the police had recognised code words they could use so that the police would know it was a real bomb rather than a hoax call.

Re:Defense (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39666985)

In Spain ETA used this strategy many (but not all) times

Re:Defense (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39666515)

You guys over there never got the Irish Troubles on the news all the time. IRA Bomb threats were VERY real. Sure, some bombings went without threats beforehand, but the majority of them did.
Why did they warn before hand? Cause panic? Alleviate their own guilt (these *were* Catholics after all)? Playing by the Rules of Engagement (by issuing warnings anyone left in the area was deemed a combatant). I was honestly too young to properly understand what was going on, but Omagh was the first Attack where I was old enough to absorb some of what happened properly, and even that had warnings (albeit misleading, the excuse being the people making the threats were idiots and got the wrong street).

Bomb threats can be made for various reasons. Threats should be taken seriously. Always.

Re:Defense (3, Funny)

Eponymous Hero (2090636) | about 2 years ago | (#39666867)

at one of my junior high school's semi-annual bomb threats (at least twice a year), the dogs went crazy over a locker in the boys' locker room. turned out to be rotting gym clothes. so you see, some good does come of fake bomb threats. and the kid assigned to that locker never lived it down.

Re:Defense (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39666281)

This "desensitization" theory is something I keep hearing, and it's absolutely silly. Ridiculous.

You're saying that someone who wants to maximize impact by catching people off-guard would:

1. Sensitize people to a potential threat
2. Work for a long time to then re-desensitize them to said threat
3. Act.

It seems the net result would be exactly the same if one skipped straight to step 3 without making any threats in the first place.

Re:Defense (1)

Eponymous Hero (2090636) | about 2 years ago | (#39667029)

well you'd have the added political impact of having a bunch of authority figures who "let this tragedy happen" because they became desensitized to the threats. then instead of having everyone's total fury pointed at you, it would be divided among you and the negligent authority. you wouldn't need a casualty at that point to do real lasting damage, you could blow up an empty building. a lot of people would start arguing that bad people like you will always exist but the greater crime was turning a blind eye to the threat.

Re:Defense (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39667045)

I bet if you looked at the aggregate "amount of terror" induced the desensitization approach might pay off a lot more.

Re:Defense (1)

Bogtha (906264) | about 2 years ago | (#39666693)

Who is to say this isn't a program of desensitisation

Sounds like a good thing, people are far too sensitive at the moment.

Anyway, what would the point of desensitisation be? If you want to blow someplace up and you don't want people to evacuate, you don't conduct a protracted campaign of desensitisation so that they'll ignore your bomb threat, you just don't issue the bomb threat.

Re:Defense (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39666177)

Exactly. After the first one or two, you'd think they'd start ignoring them.

Re:Defense (1)

SomePgmr (2021234) | about 2 years ago | (#39666411)

Maybe what they ought to be doing is correlating the threats with student class schedules.

I'd say there's a better-than-zero chance it's one or two seriously antisocial assholes running their own, semi-anonymous version of pulling the fire alarm before class. Just more frequently, because they think they're uncatchable.

Re:Defense (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39666665)

Those fools at the FBI! Why didn't they think of that?

Re:Defense (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39666859)

This would be an awesome episode of Numb3rs!

Re:Defense (4, Insightful)

NoobixCube (1133473) | about 2 years ago | (#39666201)

And who do you blame when the one you didn't take seriously is real? The Boy who Cried Wolf has two morals, you know. One for the child, to not make frivolous cries for help because someone may not come when you really need them to, and one for the adult, to treat every threat as credible, because this one could be it.

Re:Defense (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39666245)

I thought the moral was "never tell the same lie twice."

Re:Defense (1)

Canazza (1428553) | about 2 years ago | (#39666531)

I Thought the moral was "Kids shouldn't be given responsibilities"

Re:Defense (1)

khasim (1285) | about 2 years ago | (#39666713)

I Thought the moral was "Kids shouldn't be given responsibilities"

I thought the moral was "Evaluate the responsibilities to be assigned based upon performance".

How many times does an alarm have to signal a possible false positive before you put a secondary alarm in place?

Re:Defense (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39666669)

Why don't you blame the perpetrator? The person who planted the bomb?

What kind of fucked up society do you want to live in where every single anonymous and non-credible threat is taken seriously?

Hey! This guy is molesting childs! Go in his house! - Signed an anonymous person who cares about kids.

Re:Defense (3, Insightful)

icebraining (1313345) | about 2 years ago | (#39666969)

Why don't you blame the perpetrator? The person who planted the bomb?

Despite common beliefs, it is actually possible to blame more than one person for the same event.

Re:Defense (2)

NeverSuchBefore (2613927) | about 2 years ago | (#39667049)

Yeah, but it gets kind of ridiculous when you're blaming people who don't react to every lie in an utmost serious manner. I could get into a car accident or the plane I'm riding on could be blown up by terrorists. It's unlikely, but it could happen. I'm still going to ride cars and planes.

The problem, I think, is that some people have this "no casualties are acceptable" mentality. Now, this would be fine if their solutions didn't waste time, money, or violate people's rights, but they do. "How likely is it?" should be the question on people's minds..

Re:Defense (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39666213)

But then you ignore a credible threat, people die, and there is a major lawsuit for unlawful death.

Re:Defense (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39666367)

....there is a major lawsuit....

OK! Now I'm concerned!

-Yours,

Some administrator.

Re:Defense (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39666215)

Defense=stop taking every bomb threat as a credible threat.

That works great, until a real threat is missed...

Re:Defense (1)

Mordermi (2432580) | about 2 years ago | (#39666231)

But then you ignore a credible threat, people die, and there is a major lawsuit for unlawful death.

(re-posted because I accidentally posted AC because I wasn't logged in anymore *facepalm*)

Re:Defense (2, Insightful)

geekoid (135745) | about 2 years ago | (#39666395)

People spend too much time watching movies.

Bombers don't warn people.

Re:Defense (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39666847)

You obviously don't spend any time looking into actual terrorism because, yes, they most certainly do fucking warn [telegraph.co.uk] people in some cases. You're lack of knowledge is a danger to others. I suggest you shut up until you know.

Re:Defense (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39667077)

Except we are talking situations where there is not a terrorist organisation behind it and the chances of it being real are slim to none. There is a cost to life and the cost of being inconvenienced vs the risk is too great. Before you call me incentive or whatever consider that you make these assessments every day. You drive a car or use some form of transportation. The costs there are greatly higher than the chance of being killed by a bomb. The majority are not in regions where terrorism is a problem. The people killed on September 11, 7/7, the Oklahoma city bombing, and other real cases pose an insignificant risk. The reality is terrorism is not succeeding in Europe, the United States, or anywhere else except in the destruction of democracy. In some cases the goal of 'terrorists' is not to destroy democracy either. These are struggles by people who have been oppressed in many cases (although the better known ones may be not so much).

Re:Defense (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39666919)

And if I walked up to you in front of your family and said, "I'm going to murder your children while you sleep tonight" - how would you react? As the individual responsible for the safety of your family, would you choose to ignore my threat and sleep soundly, or would you maybe leave that extra light on before you go to bed?
If you chose the former, you're a liar and have probably watched too many movies yourself, where bad things never happen to good people. Threats cannot be ignored, no matter how implausible they seem. The only thing that changes is the response to the threat, and I'm fairly certain that every single human being on the planet doesn't mind taking a short walk in response to a threat like this. If not, you probably deserve to be turned into human kibble, because your survival instincts have malfunctioned.

Re:Defense (1)

NeverSuchBefore (2613927) | about 2 years ago | (#39667111)

"I'm going to murder your children while you sleep tonight"

Not even comparable. Doing something about that doesn't waste other people's time, money, or resources. It also doesn't violate anyone's rights (unlike, for instance, the TSA). It's your own personal choice.

If you chose the former, you're a liar

You don't know him. Stop pretending to be able to read minds.

In any case, I think some casualties are a fact of life. I think a few questions should be asked before deciding to do something about the threat: "How likely is it that they'll carry out the threat? How many resources would it waste for us to act? How many people would it kill? Does our proposed solution violate anyone's rights?" If it's extremely unlikely and it costs a lot of resources to take preventative action, then perhaps it's not worth it. If your solution violates people's rights, then acting is simply out of the question (note: not relevant in this case).

Re:Defense (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39667019)

People spend too much time watching movies.

Bombers don't warn people.

Plenty of bombers (and arsonists) believe that they make a more profound statement by stopping short of murder. The IRA has been mentioned, and there were a ton of radical groups in the US in the '60s that were thuggish but drew the line at murder. (The exceptions are quite famous, the controversy around Obama's association with Bill Ayers being an example.) Also, environmental terrorists, and anti-abortionists _generally_ don't target people.

The bombers that kill the most seem to be the anti-government types, like McVeigh the racial supremacists or religious extremists (notably Islamists) that are interested in a body count.

Re:Only if you want to ruin your administration (4, Insightful)

Overzeetop (214511) | about 2 years ago | (#39666545)

Virginia Tech found a domestic murder case in a dorm five years ago, police came, followed standard procedure. Four hours later 30 more students and the assailant were dead after a horrific shooting spree on the opposite side of campus. Nothing like it had ever happened before on any US campus, and probably had never happened anywhere in the US in historical memory. Two of the victims parents sued the school for not notifying the student body earlier to warn them that the domestic violence case they had contained earlier that morning would erupt into the worst school shooting in US history, and won.

You want to know how to destroy a school - stop responding to any threats, credible or not. If a real bomb does go off, the school will never survive.

Re:Only if you want to ruin your administration (5, Insightful)

Sperbels (1008585) | about 2 years ago | (#39666783)

You want to know how to destroy a school - stop responding to any threats, credible or not. If a real bomb does go off, the school will never survive.

The real threat seems to be the lawyers.

pittsburgh (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39666135)

moar liek shittsburgh amirite

Re:pittsburgh (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39666243)

pefii SJetxps wziQnOmn TtwtcyMnI OYE

Real life DDoS (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39666141)

The internet is leaking!

Which is why you don't respond to threats (1)

Hentes (2461350) | about 2 years ago | (#39666155)

I always taught that responding these threats was stupid. No terrorist is dumb enough to tell you where will they strike.

Re:Which is why you don't respond to threats (1)

dead_user (1989356) | about 2 years ago | (#39666189)

While 99% of the time it's a waste of time, it only takes once when it's real to make it worth checking every time.

Re:Which is why you don't respond to threats (2)

HeckRuler (1369601) | about 2 years ago | (#39666293)

How many bombers have preempted their bombing with 78 false threats?
I think you need to add a few more ".9" to your statistic there. And with enough there, no, it doesn't make it worth it. I'm ok with the risk of meteor impact as I walk outside. I could go live in a bunker and protect myself from that threat, or I could just accept that life isn't safe.
And you don't have to simply ignore the threats. You can, oh I dunno, STOP EVACUATING each and every time. Call in the dogs, sweep the place with the people still there, and if it's a non-issue as usual, it's just the cost of a K9 unit working constantly.

Re:Which is why you don't respond to threats (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39666307)

So you'd recommend constantly being unable to function as a form of precaution? I recommend that you go to the doctor for a full body MRI every week to make sure no tumors are growing inside you. Wouldn't want to take any risks now!

Re:Which is why you don't respond to threats (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39666555)

Every week!?! That's not enough! You need to go every day!

Or, better yet, live in the MRI machine, and have it constantly scanning you!!

Re:Which is why you don't respond to threats (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39666317)

So what if there was a threat in every university every day for the next year? Someone sufficiently malicious and with a modicum of technical knowledge could achieve that.

Back when real terrorists weren't dealt with by wetting panties and curtailing rights, England took notice only of IRA messages which included an IRA identifier, so as to weed out the inevitable hoaxers.

Re:Which is why you don't respond to threats (1)

Znork (31774) | about 2 years ago | (#39666779)

Why? Getting in a car and driving on a public road is far more likely to kill you than ignoring every bomb threat. If you got a letter saying you're going to get a car slamming into you some day... would you stop using cars because of that?

Re:Which is why you don't respond to threats (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39666197)

The IRA often called in ahead of time about bombs they had placed.

Re:Which is why you don't respond to threats (2)

geekoid (135745) | about 2 years ago | (#39666413)

And they identified themselves.
The lesson? when the IRA calls about putting a bomb there, evacuate.

Re:Which is why you don't respond to threats (1)

hob42 (41735) | about 2 years ago | (#39666539)

"Hello, this is the IRA, there is a bomb in Building X of the University of Pittsburgh. Have a nice day."

Re:Which is why you don't respond to threats (1)

Hentes (2461350) | about 2 years ago | (#39666427)

Because they didn't actually want to hurt people, and they knew that their threats will be responded. If the system had been different they would have either bombed abandoned buildings or detonated during the night.

Re:Which is why you don't respond to threats (5, Informative)

jfengel (409917) | about 2 years ago | (#39666301)

Actually, some do. The IRA was famous for telling people where their bombs were going to be. Real bombs, too. It achieves an awful lot of terror with less blood on your hands: they know that the bomb could have gone off. As long as there's some blood on your hands, your opponents know that you're willing to do it. Most of the terror, far less mess.

The goal of terrorism is to make people so upset that they give in to your demands. In this case, it may be simply to make people upset. It's working very well.

Re:Which is why you don't respond to threats (1)

geekoid (135745) | about 2 years ago | (#39666499)

citation?

I remember them doing it, but can't find any info.

If memory serves(and it may not) they initially took credit after the blasts. Once taken seriously they would call it in before..along with false threats.

Ignoring Them (1)

wisnoskij (1206448) | about 2 years ago | (#39666229)

I think the solution to this problem is to ignore bomb threats when you have every reason to believe that they are fake.
You simply cannot really catch someone if he does nothing other then writing notes and does not screw up.
There are many ways you could go about informing the police/faculty of a bomb with no risk of getting caught.

Re:Ignoring Them (1)

Black Parrot (19622) | about 2 years ago | (#39667055)

I think the solution to this problem is to ignore bomb threats when you have every reason to believe that they are fake.

Suppose you're sitting in a lecture, and the campus cops tap on the door to interrupt, and say "There's another bomb threat. You can evacuate or ignore it, at your choice."

What do you do?

Bomb the place (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39666259)

You can solve this problem by just bombing the place yourself.

Paid to show up? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39666261)

I wonder if the Allegheny County police get paid extra every time they have to respond to one of these threats, similar to how some fire depts get extra pay for responding to fire alarms. They wouldn't have much motivation to change this situation if they are profiting from it.

Re:Paid to show up? (1)

DeadCatX2 (950953) | about 2 years ago | (#39666523)

That is a sick suggestion. Some of those police officers probably have kids who go to Pitt. I doubt any of them are more concerned with a couple extra bucks when their own kid's life could be on the line.

Simple (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39666269)

Blow up the buildings before someone else can.

It's hard to feel sympathetic... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39666291)

for a University that knowingly harbored a pedophile like Jerry Sandusky.

I don't condone bomb threats, I think that's an awful thing to do to somebody but really, that school deserves much worse than that.

Re:It's hard to feel sympathetic... (1)

YodasEvilTwin (2014446) | about 2 years ago | (#39666373)

Really? Equating an entire population of people (students, profs, etc.) with a few corrupt administrators? One guy with a gun could deal with the pedos and his supporters, you don't need to blow up innocent people. TL;DR you're an idiot.

Pitt != Penn State (1, Insightful)

DeadCatX2 (950953) | about 2 years ago | (#39666485)

University of Pittsburgh is NOT Pennsylvania State University.

And for what it's worth, why would you want to punish an entire school for what a couple administrative and athletic folks have done? There were a lot of people who went to Penn State who were revolted by Sandusky's behavior. These are people with lives, with bills to pay, with careers to start. If anything, punish the athletic program and the administration, which were both complicit in the scandal. But don't punish the professors and students who are just trying to make a living, and who did nothing to contribute to the scandal.

Re:It's hard to feel sympathetic... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39666607)

Sandusky wasn't at Pittsburgh, though, was he? The football program is in the town of State College. There are rumors that there is some sort of university associated with the football program. Over 99.9% of the 100,000+ students and faculty had nothing to do with the extra-extra-curricular activities of the assistant football coach.

Do they have a pool running yet? (1)

HeckRuler (1369601) | about 2 years ago | (#39666329)

My money is either on a disgruntled ex-groundskeeper, or a computer security/polySci professor trying to make a point.

Why UPitts? (1)

Cazekiel (1417893) | about 2 years ago | (#39666341)

Have there been any mentions in the letters/emails as to why they're making the threats? Did someone fail an exam, want to get OUT of exams...?

Its a gov't false-flag to shut down anon. email (1, Troll)

brillow (917507) | about 2 years ago | (#39666441)

It's just a false-flag event to shut down anonymity online. Before you know it a bill is going to be introduced to make anonymous email illegal.

Just make it a bomb free zone. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39666461)

Duh. Then they can't blow it up.

Not just Pitt (4, Informative)

DeadCatX2 (950953) | about 2 years ago | (#39666501)

Lots of universities in the Pittsburgh area are getting bomb threats. I know CCAC is getting a bunch of them, too. They're now checking everyone's bags when they go into the building.

Power Grab (3, Insightful)

MrQuacker (1938262) | about 2 years ago | (#39666503)

Soon enough someone will catch on that they can really increase their law enforcement power/budget/detail/department, pass some laws, and maybe get rid of some civil rights because of this. If enough people get pissed off enough, they will happily trade some freedoms for making this all go away.

I'm surprised the TSA hasn't jumped in on this, setting up checkpoints and searching people anywhere they want on campus. Its the perfect situation to lend credibility to their viper program.

easy peasey (1)

Ralph Spoilsport (673134) | about 2 years ago | (#39666535)

Over several days, make sure that the message gets out that when the perp is finally caught (And he or she will be caught) they will be killed. Slowly. In public. Their skin will be shaved off, and they will be tossed in a pit where people will pee on them. Sea water will be dumped in and sharks will be added. Problem solved.

Then, once the perp is caught, shave their skin off and toss him or her in a pit for people to pee on them. Then toss in sea water and add sharks.

If you can fish his or her head out before the sharks eat it, put it on a stick in the main square.

You will never have this problem again.

RS

Re:easy peasey (1)

PRMan (959735) | about 2 years ago | (#39666971)

There is some truth to this.

I had a friend from Afghanistan (pre-Taliban) and he said that you could leave a bag of gold coins on the passenger seat of your car with the coins coming out onto the seat, with the windows rolled down and the doors unlocked. And nobody would touch it. Why? Because if you were caught they cut your hand off. And they only had to cut off about 8 hands per year, because everyone else got the message.

A solution.... (2)

mark-t (151149) | about 2 years ago | (#39666565)

Decentralize.

Get rid of the campus, and operate entirely online. Students take their courses online, they get graded online, and because there is no central meeting place, there is no place that would make an effective bomb target, whether a warning is given or not.

Re:A solution.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39666727)

Except for the dorms. Which have been evacuated multiple times in the last week alone.

mutually exclusive goals. (2)

Spudley (171066) | about 2 years ago | (#39666583)

Is there any foreseeable defense (forensic or socially engineered) to a situation like this?

Not if you also want an internet that maintains any kind of privacy.

when reached for comment (2)

nimbius (983462) | about 2 years ago | (#39666609)

the BOFH at the university of pittsburg shrugged and remarked, "check with that new CS PHD who just had to have his crontab restored on a saturday night. Its been filling up the outbound mail spool all damn day."

Trying to delay tests/exams (2)

Boycott BMG (1147385) | about 2 years ago | (#39666759)

At one university I went to, students who were not ready for their midterms did the fire alarm pull. At a different university, it was anonymous bomb threats via payphone. Anyone got any other delaying tactics at institutions they attended?

Re:Trying to delay tests/exams (1)

sexconker (1179573) | about 2 years ago | (#39667057)

At one university I went to, students who were not ready for their midterms did the fire alarm pull. At a different university, it was anonymous bomb threats via payphone. Anyone got any other delaying tactics at institutions they attended?

Just tell the professor you need more time.
9 times out of 10 they'll give it to you.
If they don't, go to the Registrar's office and fill out the "I'm sad / I have ADD / I got pragnant / I'm too stressed / Woe is me" form. There's a form for everything, and it gets you endless amounts of stupid rights - retake tests, make up projects, get a free tutor, free shrink session, whatever.
Today, a distressed student is both coddled and feared.

Meanwhile in his dorm room... (1)

Githaron (2462596) | about 2 years ago | (#39666863)

... some idiot student is laughing at how easy it is to throw the school into a frenzy and have an excuse to not go to the classes that his parents would otherwise force him to attend.

I hope they catch the "bomber".

CSI (1)

PPH (736903) | about 2 years ago | (#39666881)

They'll track some trace DNA evidence on one of the earlier handwritten notes back to the perp. If that won't work, they can do a simple chemical analysis of the ink used and track all purchasers of that brand of pen to the suspect. Failing that, there are certainly some ATM cameras within a few thousand yards whose image, when suitably blown up, will give a clear photo of the person delivering the note.

But as we all know, its just a matter of having that blond gal with the thick glasses and pigtails back at FBI HQ trace the e-mail back to its source (using a suitably animated GUI).

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