A private school in Satellite area of Ahmedabad has decided to go ahead with the prelim exams for Classes 10 to 12, two days after it received an email from an anonymous sender who threatened to upload morphed photos of its girl students on the internet if the upcoming exams are not cancelled.
According to police, this is the second time in three months when the management of the school, Anand Niketan, was receiving threat emails alleged to be from the same sender, demanding to cancel the exams.
The school received the first threat email on September 9, when the sender threatened to “leak” morphed pictures of the school’s girl students if mid-term exams were not cancelled. The school management then cancelled the mid-term exams for Classes 8 to 12 in mid-September.
On December 6, the school received another threat email where the sender demanded announcement of cancellation of prelim exam for Classes 10, 11 and 12 by Monday afternoon.
Speaking to The Indian Express, Anand Niketan school director Nashy Chauhan said, “Somebody is playing a fool and threatening that if we go ahead with the exams, morphed pictures of girls would be uploaded. We cancelled the exams earlier. But this time we are going ahead with the prelims for Classes 10 to 12 this month.”
She added that a police complaint was filed immediately and the matter was being investigated. “We do not know whether the accused is from the school or not. We are told that since the sender has used the dark web, investigation would take time. Hopefully, some progress is expected this week.” “We have informed our students, teachers and parents, and soon would come out with the exams schedule,” said Binu Thomas, principal, senior section.
In September also, after receiving the first threat email, the school management had filed a written complaint with the Ahmedabad Cyber Crime Cell, following which a first information report (FIR) was filed against an unknown person on October 9 at the Cyber Crime police station.
Police said that to send the emails, the sender has used a network similar to TOR (The Onion Ring) browser, an open source software used for sending information anonymously — a phenomenon also known as “dark web”.
Dark web refers to parts of the internet or the world wide web where communication is made through complex overlay networks hiding the original IP address of the device or user’s location. Dark web cannot be accessed with conventional search engines such as Google and Yahoo and it is infamous for its nefarious use in online sale and purchase of narcotics and other illegal activities by internet users across the world.
The Ahmedabad Cyber Crime Cell has been unable to find any leads in the case yet even as a new threat mail landed in the inbox of school authorities on Sunday.
Amit Vasava, deputy commissioner of police, Cyber Crime Cell, said, “The incident of a new threat mail has been added to the existing FIR since the email id used in both is the same. We cannot divulge much about the ongoing investigation but a lot of effort has been put in the past few months to track this case… we will be able to catch the culprit soon.”
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