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Brian Krebs Gets SWATted 240

Posted by timothy
from the how-some-people-sleep-at-night dept.
RedLeg writes "ArsTechnica reports that Brian Krebs, of KrebsOnSecurity.com, formerly of the Washington Post, recently got SWATted. For those not familiar with the term, SWATting is the practice of spoofing a call to emergency responders (911 in the U.S.) to induce an overwhelming and potentially devastating response from law enforcement and/or other first responders to the home or residence of the victim. Brian's first-person account of the incident and what he believes to be related events are chronicled here. Krebs has been prominent in the takedown of several cyber-criminal groups in the past, and has been subject to retaliation. I guess this time he poked the wrong bear."
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Brian Krebs Gets SWATted

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  • Danger. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Seumas (6865) on Friday March 15, 2013 @07:21PM (#43187255)

    This wouldn't be nearly as dangerous if we didn't live in a society where a significant portion of our law-enforcement feel like above-the-law gung-ho cowboys looking to shoot now and ask questions later that respond to "large black ex-military man in a green truck" by shooting asian women in a blue van. Cops are trained to approach every incident as a potentially dangerous or life-threatening one and it's pretty much to the point where citizens need to treat every encounter with the police as a potentially deadly one.

  • Re:Danger. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SwedishPenguin (1035756) on Friday March 15, 2013 @07:27PM (#43187309)

    Very true. The UK and Norway have the right idea, firearms should only be present only when the situation specifically calls for it. In Norway the firearms stay locked in the car and approval from a superior officer for them to be used, this seems like a good approach to me, at least in countries not inundated in gun violence.

  • Re:Danger. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ohnocitizen (1951674) on Friday March 15, 2013 @07:35PM (#43187365)
    Depending on the nature of the fake threat, reasonable people might assume the situation specifically does call for firearms. It becomes a question of when - if ever - the police can tell the difference between an imminent threat and a prank.
  • Re:Danger. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by tsotha (720379) on Friday March 15, 2013 @07:40PM (#43187395)

    This wouldn't be nearly as dangerous if we didn't live in a society where a significant portion of our law-enforcement feel like above-the-law gung-ho cowboys looking to shoot now and ask questions later...

    That's a gross mischaracterization. There are hundreds of thousands of cops, and they face potentially dangerous situations every day, and bad shoots are rare.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 15, 2013 @07:41PM (#43187397)

    Does reporting about criminal groups really count as poking the wrong bear? Or do you think he deserves everything he gets?

  • WTF? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by The Grim Reefer (1162755) on Friday March 15, 2013 @07:41PM (#43187401)

    SWATting is the practice of spoofing a call to emergency responders (911 in the U.S.) to induce an overwhelming and potentially devastating response from law enforcement and/or other first responders to the home or residence of the victim.

    Seriously, what the fuck is wrong with people? I'm not sure what is worse; that someone came up with doing this, the fact that this happens enough that there's a term for it, or the caviler way the summary reports it. "I guess this time he poked the wrong bear."

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 15, 2013 @07:45PM (#43187431)

    For those that say "anonymity on the Internet is not important", look no further than this story for proof that you're wrong.

    Sometimes good guys should be both permitted and encouraged to guard their anonymity and privacy online. It is not just for those doing wrong.

  • by tsotha (720379) on Friday March 15, 2013 @07:45PM (#43187435)
    I want to know how people can call 911 and report something like this without being discovered. Every 911 call is traced immediately, and mobile calls automatically get GPS fixed. Are they using a stolen mobile from a car or something like that?
  • Re:Danger. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Stormy Dragon (800799) on Friday March 15, 2013 @08:16PM (#43187607) Homepage

    The overwhelming majority of cops are in no more danger on a given day than any other member of the public. The "we face life or death decisions every minute we're on patrol" bullshit is part of the military occupation mentality that's destroying police crediblity in this country.

    And we have no idea how rare bad shoots are, as law enforcement groups routinely prevent any attempts to collect statistics on that subject.

  • Re:Danger. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by girlintraining (1395911) on Friday March 15, 2013 @08:42PM (#43187755)

    and a big "fuck you" to whomever called 911 with his phone number faked as the calling number.

    Of course, this begs the question of why our emergency services and others who's lives depend on the accuracy of this information, do not have the capability to authenticate whether a phone call actually originated from a specific phone, and what its location is. Land lines, cell phones, all of these are required by FCC laws passed over a decade ago now to be accurate enough to tell which side of the road your crashed car is on.

    If our infrastructure is so easily compromised by pranksters, then what the hell did we spend all those billions of dollars in "Homeland security" for? I don't know about you but if I get a phone call that says "HOLY FUCK THEY HAVE A DIRTY BOMB IN THE BASEMENT!" ... I wanna know which basement, and who's on the other end of that call, pretty fucking quick and unambiguously.

    In other news... If this information isn't completely reliable, then why are we kicking down doors and murdering innocent people in their own homes? "Hello? Why yes, I'd like to order a Murder with cheese please. Yes, with extra SWAT."

  • Re:WTF? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 15, 2013 @08:43PM (#43187761)

    You forgot the most important WTF of all, I think: WTFF is going on when law enforcement are such gung-ho maniacs that they're usuable as a weapon in this way in the first place??

  • Re:Danger. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Seumas (6865) on Friday March 15, 2013 @08:55PM (#43187831)

    Actually, there's a pretty hefty amount of evidence that Brian Krebs is white.

    Or do you mean that it helped?

    I agree that the person who made that statement is doing so with no foundation in this specific incident, but I do think it's reasonable for someone to make that statement in a broader sense, since there have been plenty of incidents where police over-reacted to unarmed black persons with one or a few dozen bullets (just google "police shoot/kill unarmed black man").

  • Re:Danger. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Seumas (6865) on Friday March 15, 2013 @09:12PM (#43187909)

    I'd need you to define "rare". Perhaps they are rare in comparison to the number of times a cop has to draw a gun, but you could probably spend the rest of the decade pouring through news stories about young black men being shot a dozen times for drawing a 3Muskateers candy bar out of their pocket. All you need to do is google phrases like "police [shoot|kill] unarmed [black|woman]". Throw in some searches for things like "police use taser on unarmed elderly woman", while you're at it.

    How many times is acceptable? Shouldn't abuse be pretty much a zero-tolerance issue? Shouldn't excessive (but not abusive) force be both a rare exception and one that is dealt with much more seriously than it is? There are far more stories of "police shoot unarmed black man" and "police shoot unarmed woman" and "police tased person because he had a smart mouth or they were too lazy to overpower him despite having a dozen officers surrounding him" and 'police tase or pepper spray 84 year old woman" stories than there are stories of police being killed.

    I mean, for fuck's sake, how many times did cops unload on innocent citizens in the search for that ex-military guy a few weeks ago? Wasn't it twice? And one of them actually *was* a blue van with asian women driving when the APB was for a muscular black man in a green truck? Not only that but the police SHOT ONE OF THOSE WOMEN IN THE FUCKING ****BACK****?! (source: http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/lanow/2013/02/ex-cop-manhunt-newspaper-delivery-women-shot.html [latimes.com] ).

    Nobody could seriously assert that all cops are corrupted or mentally imbalanced or anything of the sort. That's not what I'm saying. I'm saying what seems pretty obvious from our culture and the news that has covered it for decades -- cops *are* quick to shoot, often shoot without justification, often without thorough investivation, and often without proper persecution. As a whole, they should be taken as a danger to society. Yes, they exist to protect (or, at least, clean up after someone's done some evil shit too you before they got there), but it'd be insane not to treat every encounter with one as one in which you could potentially be shot.

    Also, yes they face potentially dangerous situations every day. And they're trained to handle those, so that they don't shoot unarmed and/or innocent people not posing an immediate threat.

  • Re:Danger. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Seumas (6865) on Friday March 15, 2013 @09:26PM (#43187985)

    Oh, I should have also included that whole thing at an Oakland BART station just a few years ago, where a handful of cops had an unarmed man subdued and face-down on the concrete, when one of the cops stands up, steps back, pulls out his gun, and fatally shoots the guy while the other cops are holding him down.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BART_Police_shooting_of_Oscar_Grant [wikipedia.org]

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FJGo2xfKnd0 [youtube.com]

    You can take each of these as insignificant anecdotal pieces, but when you start to compile the list, you start to realize that you are just one bad or off day away from a cop putting an end to you. Sometimes a good cop making a mistake or a bad cop losing his shit. And there are also plenty of examples of cops breaking down the wrong doors during SWAT busts, sometimes resulting in the innocent occupants inside being killed. We're not talking hoaxes, here. We're talking police fuck-ups, because they smashed down the wrong front door.

    Just google "swat enters wrong home" for all those stories.

    I'd say these incidents are hardly "rare".

  • Gun culture (Score:0, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 15, 2013 @09:54PM (#43188117)

    If somebody kicks in your door, I could imagine situations where people who are armed and in their home fire back at an intruder who claims to be the police. And what a mess that would be.

    Yay guns! They make us safe.

  • Re:Danger. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Immerman (2627577) on Friday March 15, 2013 @11:23PM (#43188517)

    Seems like a non-issue to me. Much like email it's relatively easy to spoof the origin of a communication you originate; however, while that can be used for harassment purposes such as in this (potentially to much worse effect - I doubt things would have gone nearly so smoothly had the victim lived in a bad part of town) it doesn't really compromise the integrity of legitimate identification - your phone will still identify itself properly. Interfering with that is likely considerably more difficult.

    As for the billions spent in Homeland Security, you don't actually think that ever had anything to do with actual security do you? Once they reinforced and locked the aircraft cockpit doors pretty much everything else was power grabs, cronyism, and wasteful, incompetent security theater - because no politician want to be the one that does nothing in the face of an attack just because of a trifling little detail like there's nothing meaningful that can actually be done.

  • Re:Danger. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 16, 2013 @07:24AM (#43189737)

    the guy that got shot was a life long career criminal, who was the son of a murderer, who was out at 1 AM harassing, intimidating, and fighting with people while high and drunk, with his "crew" of lowlife punks.

    He deliberately put himself in a bad situation by his poor behavior and lifestyle choices. It was unfortunate that some newbie rentacop with little experience and an itchy trigger finger killed him, but this guy would never have even been facing the other end of a gun if he had behaved like a normal, decent, law-abiding citizen instead of a thug buffoon.

    Here's a window into the mind of a conservative who enables or participates in police crime.

    The shooting victim is defined as part of the 'bad' tribe. In this case, his parents are unacceptable in the eyes of the 'good' tribe (right-wing conservatives). He was out on the street late at night (somehow unacceptable to conservatives). Allegedly partakes in drugs and alcohol (punishable by death in the minds of some conservatives).

    This 'bad' tribe MADE WAR ON OUR TRIBE by being out late at night. KILL THE OUTSIDER! KILL THE BAD DRUG CRIMINAL MAN! Reasonable punishment for crimes doesn't factor into it. Rehabilitation of socially damaging behavior doesn't factor into it. He's a BAD MAN. SHOOT HIM!

  • Re:Danger. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Wow8agger (115234) on Saturday March 16, 2013 @09:36AM (#43190271)

    This stuff makes me feel crappy to write, but I actually went and looked at the CDC numbers:

    All data comes from the 2010 CDC data and the 2010 US Census.

    There were a total of 31,632 Firearms related deaths in the US in 2010

    Unintentional 606 0.2/100k
    Suicide 19,392 6.3/100k
    Homicide 11,078 3.6/100k
    Undetermined 252 0.1/100k
    Legal intervention/war 344 0.1/100k

    Intentional self-harm (suicide) by discharge of firearms (Total 19,392)
    White (Including Hispanics) 17,909
    Black 1,079

    Assault (homicide) by discharge of firearms (11,078)
    White (Including Hispanics) 4,647
    Black 6,151

    Firearm Homicides per 100,000
    White (Including Hispanic) 2.9
    Non-Hispanic Whites 1.9
    Black 14.6 (Black males are 27.6?!)
    Asian 1.0

    The overall US Suicide rate is 12.0/100k, which is less than France, and about the same as the nordic nations and the UK, which all have pretty stringent firearms laws. This makes me think that firearms just happen to be the method of choice in the US, but that these were people that were probably going to kill themselves anyway (Japan, which has *extremely* stringent gun laws has a suicide rate of 21/100k). Interestingly enough though, I heard a story on NPR yesterday that said that people are 85% successful at suicide with guns, but only 2% with other methods, so I might be wrong.

    On the other hand, in 2010 Blacks only made up 12.6% of the population, but accounted for 55.5% of all the firearms related homicides. What the hell?! When you've got 1/8th (really 1/16th because it's almost all men) of your population accounting for over half of your gun related homicides, you don't have a gun problem, you have a social problem. I'm not saying blacks are more likely to murder people with guns, I am saying that unfortunately there is a culture in the black community that glamorizes gun violence. It's not necessarily a wealth thing, because you don't see it among poor asians or hispanics.

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