A disgruntled Minecraft player launched an attack on one of the game’s U.S.-based servers by sending out thousands of bomb threat emails to hundreds of schools in the UK. The emails were reportedly an attempt to ruin the reputation of the server and to get its domain banned. The emails indicated that a student was going to be sent to the schools with a bomb set to go off in three hours time if a payment of $5,000 was not sent immediately. The email was “spoofed” to look like it came from the Minecraft server VeltPvP. The payment address indicated in the email even contained the server’s domain name.
VeltPvp is a U.S.-based server that caters to Minecraft players who want to compete against each other. The “player-versus-player” server reportedly has more than 10,000 users a day. According to the company, the majority of their players are between the ages of 8 and 18-years old.
According to a report from Sky News, police officers had to be sent to over 400 schools in London, North Yorkshire, and Manchester. Some of the schools resorted to evacuating their students and faculty members as a precaution shortly after they had received the emails. Due to fears that the threat was authentic and terror-related, some schools had decided to close until the matter was resolved.
Police departments from the affected cities have all issued statements confirming that the bomb threats were fake and that they were not terror-related. Investigators later revealed that the emails apparently originated from the United States.
As reported by the BBC, VeltPvP immediately posted on social media and explained that they had nothing to do with the email bomb threats. The Minecraft server further elaborated that they had recently been the target of a group of cybercriminals that are still continually harassing them. Carson Kallen, the server’s 17-year-old CEO, explained in an interview that he thinks the perpetrator of the hoax emails may have been a former Minecraft player who had been banned from their servers. Kallen also revealed that he has recently been the target of “swatting” attacks. “Swatting” is the dangerous prank where authorities are falsely informed of a crime-in-progress situation, which results in officers being sent to a person’s home.