Cambridge Officials Held School Meeting Concerning Threats To Children
A public meeting organized by the Cambridge Community Response Network, held on December 6, had raised serious questions about threats concerning students accessing the dark web. According to its website, the organization “helps residents, students, and workers identify the various tools and resources needed to build resiliency and better recover from a traumatic episode.”
The meeting was essential since there were some happenings lately. An anonymous tipster sent encrypted messages from the Tor browser about an upcoming threat on November 13 (the same day as the Paris terror attacks happened) to the Cambridge Police, which has been forwarded through an “anonymous tip line”. According to the message, a bomb would be placed in “Cambridge mass schools” that started with the letter “P.” Robert C. Haas, Cambridge Police Commissioner, and FBI special agent Kieran Ramsey said that the local police got another message from an unknown tipster with more specific language, alerting them to threats that described gun violence at specific schools. The e-mails were sent to city officials on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday last week, leading to an increase of the security level at five schools. This included the Amigos School, Putnam Avenue Upper School, the Vassal Lane Upper School, the Tobin Montessori, and the Kennedy-Longfellow schools.
According to Ramsey, they believe that the threats are coming from the same person. However, he also stated since the use of Tor and encryption, they can’t investigate the origins of the sender thoroughly.
“Increasing use of encryption technology makes it very hard to trace back,” he said. “The anonymizing software makes it very, very challenging, if not in some cases impossible.”
According to Haas, Cambridge police have decided to no longer contact with the mysterious sender. He added that the language of the e-mails “was written in a way that made it seem like it was written by an adolescent,” but it is not sure, it could have come from anybody. Haas told these to the parents concerning the identity of the tipster at the meeting:
“In all likelihood, the person that originally authored the threats and the ‘good Samaritan’ are one and the same person.”
Brian Corr, director of the Cambridge Peace Commission, also gave a speech on the meeting:
“I’m really gratified that with two days’ notice . . . people came out on their Sunday to be part of this, to find out more, and to help make sure that all of our children, all of our families, all of our teachers feel safe and secure.”
At the meeting, parents raised concerns over how the students might use and access the dark web, the safety of school buses, and the possibility of threats to the MLK School, the institute that is currently under construction.
Although he could not come up with exact numbers, Cambridge schools Superintendent Jeffrey Young stated that attendance was pretty low last week due to the threats to the Cambridge schools’ community.