Officers struggle to track offender

Andy Dickinson
Andy Dickinson

Officers trying to track down the person responsible for halting the new term at Montgomery High School with anonymous threats of violence could be struggling to trace them, an expert has claimed.

Senior lecturer in digital journalism at the University of Central Lancashire, Andy Dickinson, said it was possible the threat-maker could have been using relatively simple IT techniques to hide their true identity.

Mr Dickinson said: “A brainy kid who knows how to use proxy server and public wifi is just two or three simple steps down the line.

“Some people use software like Tor to mask their IP address.

“That would mean forensic work which takes time and resources and the police might feel, if the threat is not credible, it’s not worth putting the resources into it.”

Tor is a free anonymity network that directs traffic through more than 6,000 relays to conceal a user’s location. It is used to hide IP addresses, often by journalists in oppressive countries or by hackers trying to remain undetected for example.

While it’s not known who the #MontyMassacre poster is or whether they are even a student at Montgomery as they claim to be, Mr Dickinson said there were several practical ways for parents to keep an eye on their children’s social media use.

But he said: “There are things like turning wireless routers off at 11pm or having an agreement that if children are on Facebook they must follow you and you follow them, but parents will be sensitive to the fact a complete ban might mean their 13-year-old is the only one at school without it.”