We’ve all heard or seen about Swatting, but for those who haven’t let me explain its principle. Normally it happens when you find someone online, usually in the process of streaming a video or even them record themselves playing a game. As they are online you use software to track down their IP, this information tells them where you are in the world. Using another piece of software, you ring the police and state that you are in danger at that address, wait a few minutes and you see police appear all over your screen and begin to laugh at your accomplishment.
Swatting is not a joke though and while it is also a waste of police time, it is also extremely dangerous. In an effort to help protect against online trolls (people who cause grief to others online), online services are acting to do just that, such as the latest update which allows Skype to hide your IP.
In the latest update to the global service, IP addresses will be hidden by default. This means that once you’ve updated, you can be sure that you protected that little bit more from those who would seek to cause you pain or have a laugh at the expense of your happiness.
I think this is a great update, protecting users from all kinds of problems. Online services have a duty to protect their users and Skype is doing just that with this update.
Swatting, the act of calling real SWAT police on unsuspecting gamers is a freaking dangerous stunt to pull. It’s also something police forces are becoming tired of, as it involves deployment of armed resources, no doubt at great expense, when they could be best used elsewhere, potentially even saving lives rather than wasting time.
Brandon Willson, 19 years old was living in Las Vegas when he made up a murder story to get a SWAT team to show up to a house in Naperville, Chicago. He got busted for the call and is now sitting in a cell in Nevada, awaiting extradition to Illinois. State’s Attorney James Glasgow is currently putting together legislation to make swatting a felon within Illinois; bad news for Brandon.
According to prosecutors, Brandon is also under investigation for hacking to obtain personal information belonging to two people, threatening people with identity theft and more. He’s charged with two counts of computer fraud & tampering, one count of intimidation for each hacking incident, identity theft and disorderly conduct. A conviction would mean up to five years in prison, as well as further charges in Texas, California, South Carolina and Nevada as the FBI continue investigations.
Long story short, this kid is going to be made a prime example of why Swatting is a really dumb idea.
Police have arrested another person believed to be connected to the DDoS attacks upon Xbox Live and PlayStation Network over Christmas. The UK South East Regional Organised Crime Unit arrested an 18-year-old on Boundary Street in Southport this morning (Friday).
Gizmodosays that the individual was arrested under the Computer Misuse Act 1990 in connection with “unauthorised access to computer material, unauthorised access with intent to commit further offences and threats to kill”. The individual has also been linked to “swatting” – the practice of falsely informing the police about a supposed suspect or incident, leading to the deployment of oftentimes armed police officers to the victim’s property.
This news follows the late December arrest of Vinnie Omari – another Lizard Squad suspect liked to similar charges. Omari was however later released with no charges placed against him.
Lizard Squad hit the headlines over Christmas after a series of debilitating DDoS attacks upon Xbox Live and the PlayStation Network. Both networks were down for most of Christmas Day, with PSN down for a couple of days following that.
Update: Turns out this story was a hoax, the following article should be seen as satire at best.
Recently we brought you news of someone being hit with a stupid and incredibly dangerous prank known as “swatting”, the act of calling the real SWAT police on another gamer. Today we have the results of what happens to people who think doing something like this “is a good idea”.
15 year old Paul Horner broke down in tears in front of a judge after he was found guilty on two counts of domestic terrorism, which even at the age of 15 has landed him with a staggering 25 years to life sentence, ouch! This makes Horner the first person in history to be charged on offences for swatting and given that this is a worrying and growing trend, he is likely being made into an example to prevent this prank from happening again.
It’s a waste of valuable police resources and it puts peoples lives at risk. Horner was upset that a follow Battlefield 4 gamer was beating him, so he obtained his private information and called police on a reported murder and hostage situation at the gamers address. When SWAT raided the house things went to hell, the gamer father was shot and critically injured in the process.
Prosecutors played audio of Horner’s 911 phone call to the jury: “I just shot and killed four people. If any police enter my home I will kill them too,” the statement read in part.
In short, Horner has got a lot of time to think about what he has done.
Having the local SWAT team called around to your house is no laughing matter and Jordan “Kootra” Mathewson go a healthy dose of reality when a team of armed professional cleared their way through his house and pointed guns at him. Unfortunately for Jordan he was the victim of a unbelievably stupid trend known as “swatting”, this involves calling the police on someone for a joke, but when armed police turned up to Jordan’s house under the impression there were hostages taken and that shots had been fired, no one there was laughing.
Amazingly this whole incident was caught on video, as Jordan was playing Counter Strike at the time and it’s likely that the prank was called in by someone on the opposing team. “Uh oh. This isn’t good. They’re clearing rooms. What in the world, I think we’re getting swatted.” Said Jordan in the video, fortunately for him he had the wits to stay calm and handed the situation very well.
Not only did the police invade his offices, they also locked down several schools and businesses in the Littleton, Colorado area. we have real guns and real bullets, and there’s potential there for some tragedy.” said the local police chief, who was eager to point out that had things gone wrong, or Jordan panicked, he could have been shot and killed. Police also said they’ll prosecute who ever was behind the stunt “to the fullest extent of the law.”