Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Email bomb threats

The Indiana Daily Student is carrying an article about an email bomb threat to Indiana University's Bryan Hall. The University of Iowa received a similar threat and noted that other universities are receiving these threats as well. With widespread email bomb threats spreading, it is useful to note that the email was sent with specific details - to a dean and threatening Bryan Hall in the case of IU, and threatening the library at UI. In addition, the article notes that the email was sent through an anonymous service. This is the modern day equivalent of phoning in your bomb threat from a payphone.

I've seen old style phone-in bomb threats can shut down classes and campus buildings for hours at a time. With the heightened security response from many schools in a post VA Tech mode, emailed bomb threats have a significant chance of disrupting school activities. As the school year starts, it will be interesting to see if this is just the beginning of a trend. Hopefully this won't become widespread - targeted availability attacks like this can wreak havoc on campus schedules and events.

Now is the time to review your emergency communications plan - can you communicate effectively to your staff, students, and other community members? Do you have evacuation plans for buildings?

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