Community after community across the country dealt with apparent email bomb threats Thursday, which disrupted lives and tied up police.
Connecticut State Police tell us the hunt is on for whoever was behind what appears to be a big hoax.
Cybersecurity expert Quinnipiac University professor Frederick Scholl discussed what it will take to track down those responsible.
“What I think is happening, assuming it’s not two guys in a garage, you know, pranksters or something like that,” said Scholl. “There are large networks of robots out there that are computer controlled. They’re owned by hacker groups and they can be used to send out thousands or millions of emails a day,” he said.
That could be what was behind Thursday’s wave of apparent email bomb threats in our state and across the country.
In Bloomfield, a company received an apparently ominous email claiming someone had “hidden the bomb in the building” and demanding a ransom of “20.000 $ in Bitcoin.”
In at least a dozen communities around the state, similar threats targeted businesses, schools and other community organizations.
While authorities took each seriously – even prompting some evacuations – state police say none were credible.
“There could be two motives. One is actually getting money through Bitcoin and some people have done that through ransomware attacks in the past. Another would be to disrupt, to cause fear,” said Scholl.
Scholl tells us investigators could quickly track down an unsophisticated cybercriminal. But it could take months, even years, to catch a more complex operation.
“I think we’re going to see more of these things. Individuals have to be more careful about clicking on emails and everything they do,” said Scholl.
A law enforcement source tells NBC News it appears the threats went out robo-style, with seemingly no reason for who was targeted.
Police remind people to report anything suspicious.