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Hackers charged with making false bomb threats to schools

Posted at 3:54 PM, Feb 12, 2019
and last updated 2019-02-12 18:54:02-05

(AP/KSBY) – Federal prosecutors say two computer hackers have been charged with sending false shooting and bomb threats to hundreds of schools in the U.S. and Britain.

The Department of Justice says Tuesday the men are members of the Apophis Squad, a collective of hackers intent on using the internet to sow chaos.

The indictment says 20-year-old Timothy Vaughn of Winston-Salem, North Carolina, used the online handle “WantedbyFeds.”

Nineteen-year-old George Duke-Cohan of Hertfordshire, United Kingdom, is currently serving a prison sentence in Britain for a hoax threat targeting an airliner.

It wasn’t immediately known if the defendants have attorneys.

The indictment alleges the Apophis Squad made false threats and engaged in “swatting,” in which a phony report is made to trigger deployment of emergency response teams.

According to the indictment, in April 2018, the defendants sent emails to school districts in California, including Santa Maria and Lompoc, threatening that a student would set off two bombs made of ammonium nitrate/fuel oil.

In another incident, also in April 2018, the defendants allegedly sent a message to a school district in Lompoc that claimed a student who had been bullied would show up to school with three bombs and a handgun and kill students and staff.