17 Mar 2013

“SWATting” is going to get somebody killed

Posted by dumpendebat

Brian Krebs, a tech/security journalist who lives in the DC metro area, was the victim of a “SWATting” on Thursday, 14 March. The Washington Post reports:

About 10 bike and patrol officers arrived at Krebs’s house about 5:40 p.m., Fairfax police spokeswoman Mary Ann Jennings said. Krebs said he opened the front door for unrelated reasons and saw several officers around his house, guns drawn.

“Don’t move! Put your hands in the air!” Krebs said he was told. Then he was told to walk backward into a nearby parking lot. He did and was handcuffed.

But Krebs quickly detected that a hoax had been perpetrated. In fact he had filed a report with Fairfax police in August saying that such a SWATing call might happen, because of threats he was receiving from online groups that were the subject of his reporting.

Krebs tells the story on his own blog:

One of the officers asked if it was okay to enter my house, and I said sure. Then an officer who was dressed more like a supervisor approached me and asked if I was the guy who had filed a police report about this eventuality about six months earlier. When I responded in the affirmative, he spoke into his handheld radio, and the police began stowing their rifles and the cuffs were removed from my wrists. He explained that they’d tried to call me on the phone number that had called them (my mobile), but that there was no answer. He apologized for the inconvenience, and said they were only doing their jobs. I told him no hard feelings. He told me that the problem of SWATting started on the West Coast and has been slowly making its way east.

The cop that took the report from me after the incident said someone had called 911 using a Caller ID number that matched my mobile phone number; the caller claimed to be me, reporting that Russians had broken into the home and shot my wife. Obviously, this was not the case, and nobody was harmed during the SWATing.

The Washington Post article says that “[t]he FBI has been advising people of the dangers of SWATing for years, but it doesn’t speak much about it for fear of spreading the idea.

Mark my words, readers: somebody is going to get killed this way. Causing a heavily-armed squad of paramilitary police officers to believe that they’re heading into a potentially deadly situation is light-years beyond a stupid prank such as causing pizza to be delivered to somebody’s house, or subscribing them to gay-porn websites, etc.

It’s bad enough that “SWATting” somebody is going to terrify them and their family, not to mention wasting their time and the time of all the law-enforcement officers involved, and wasting taxpayer dollars, but this absolutely stupid kind of “prank” is going to get somebody shot and killed.

How funny is that going to be, readers, when some over-adrenalized police officer who thinks he’s going into a life-threatening situation makes a mistake and shoots the victim of a “SWATting”? How funny would it be if somebody’s child were to get shot and killed?

This is going to happen. Just wait. I guarantee you, this is going to happen. Somebody’s going to get killed by one of these “pranks.”

Whoever pulls this “prank” and causes a SWAT team to be sent to somebody’s house should be convicted of a felony and spend a good ten years in prison, I think. This is putting people’s lives, and the lives of their families, in jeopardy.

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