Report: LAUSD Threats Came Via An Email Address Hosted On 'Cockmail'
The emails that threatened both New York and Los Angeles school systems used an email host called "Cockmail," according to a report. And a state official has confirmed that the threats came from an email with a pornographic reference in the address.
Cock.li has 60,000 subscribers and describes itself as a "meme sewer," The Verge reports. In what Cock.li founder Vincent Canfield said was in the interest of transparency, he posted numerous documents related to the subpoena online, as well as what appears to be a recording of him discussing the subpoena with authorities. Canfield said that initial reports indicating that the email was routed through Germany actually links to the email host server. The Cock.li host (profane link here) also has a few interesting domains, like, oh, "dicksinmyan.us" and "cumallover.me," so there's that.
I have no sympathy with the attacker but if a few emails from my meme email provider can shut down your SD, that's an administration problem— Vincent Canfield (@gexcolo) December 15, 2015
Representative Brad Sherman (D-CA), who is also a senior member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, described the email to the L.A. Times, which reports that Sherman "doubts the credibility of the emailed threat."
He said the email’s from line uses a pornographic term to reference a male body part. "Devout Muslims and extremists don't do that," he said
"We do not know whether some or all of the threats are truthful," Sherman said. "The only thing we know is that the email was sent by an evil person."
A Wall Street Journal reporter and an independent investigative journalist tweeted out that the email came from an @cock.li address:
Madbomber@cock.li was email address that apparently sent schools threat, per source— Devlin Barrett (@DevlinBarrett) December 15, 2015
LA school threat reportedly came thru cock.li, a service popular on 8chan. Cock.li published subpoena from NYC re similar email threat.— briankrebs (@briankrebs) December 15, 2015
LAPD Chief Charlie Beck, who was defensive about LAUSD's decision to close all of their campuses in a press conference this morning, gave additional information at a police commissioners meeting this afternoon. Beck said emails named all LAUSD schools as a target, but specified high school students, the L.A. Times reports. He said the email claimed that the bombs had already been put in place, but that people affiliated with ISIS planned to also attack students using AK-47s. Beck noted it was also written in "very good English," contrary to most hoaxes he sees, which have "syntax errors, a lot of incomplete sentences, non-sequiturs."
New York officials, however, pointed to a grammatical error that led them to believe the emails were a hoax. In particular, the word "Allah" wasn't capitalized. Bratton said that the emails were likely written by someone who had seen too much Homeland. New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said, "[The email was] was so generic, so outlandish, and posed to numerous school systems simultaneously. Kids should be in school today. We will be vigilant. But we are absolutely convinced our schools are safe."
Cockmail is promoted through 8chan, a message board site similar to 4chan. Its creator, Fredrick Brennan, came up with the idea while tripping on mushrooms and has described the site as a "free-speech-friendly" alternative to 4chan. So, basically, you can post whatever you want as long as it doesn't disobey the one rule: "Do not post, request or link to any content illegal in the United States of America. Do not create boards with the sole purpose of posting or spreading such content."
8chan has come under fire for being linked to "swatting" incidents" and because some users have allegedly used the site to post images of or links to child pornography. 8chan is also where gamergate supporters went after 4chan banned discussion of the topic.