300 schools in Latvia get threatening e-mails; police say risk is low

About 300 educational institutions across Latvia have received identical e-mails October 10 about possible security risks, the State Police (VP) said, noting that there is no reason to worry and the threat level is described as low.

Latvian Radio reports that the e-mails were in Russian. State Police Chief Armands Ruks told Latvian  Radio in an interview that about 300 schools in Latvia received threatening emails. Schools have received three types of notifications from multiple emails. The first emails arrived around midnight.

The VP said that this type of e-mail had also come to the attention of the police in the past when identical text had been sent to different authorities, even hundreds of addresses, similar to this time. “The State Police have developed precise action algorithms in such cases that clearly define conduct and risk level assessment,” the VP noted.

Ruks explained to Latvian Radio that it is apparent that the sender generated different e-mail addresses, but all cases are related.

“On the virtual web, using a variety of concealment techniques, IP addresses are created, emails are created,” Ruks said, revealing there was also a link to similar threat email cases previously identified. On Monday, similar emails were sent to 10 courts in Latvia. The purpose of these emails is to destabilize the public and upset it.

“Our goal is to physically get on the trail of this person and then, accordingly, target him with all the laws we can,” Ruks noted.

The information available to the police in this case shows that the emails were deliberately sent from one addressee and assessed in all circumstances as a low-risk threat and there was no cause for concern for the public.

VP is currently conducting routine security checks at training institutions and is in contact with school staff about the necessary action. Some schools have been evacuated but it has been the management decision because VP has not ordered to do so, Ruks noted, while recalling that schools must immediately inform the VP of any suspicious situation.

“We can't search 300 schools physically centimeter by centimeter, but that's why algorithms have been developed about the level of risk we currently rate as low,” Ruks explained.

“We recall that the distribution or placement of a deliberately false statement regarding the insertion or placement of an explosive, poisonous, radioactive or bacteriological substance or material or explosive device is criminal,” the VP noted.

The evacuation of students on social networks has already been reported by several schools, including educational institutions in Olaine, Mārupe, Rēzekne, Ogre.

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