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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, Interesting)

      by James-NSC (1414763) on Friday March 15, 2013 @07:26PM (#43187287) Homepage
      Thankfully Brian had already contacted his local PD and advised them that this was a distinct possibility so they were prepared for the possibility that it was a hoax when they arrived.

      That and Brian is white, so that helps...
      • Re:Danger. (Score:5, Informative)

        by Maow (620678) on Friday March 15, 2013 @07:40PM (#43187391) Journal

        Thankfully Brian had already contacted his local PD and advised them that this was a distinct possibility so they were prepared for the possibility that it was a hoax when they arrived.

        That and Brian is white, so that helps...

        Furthermore, the police called him before he came out his front door and was confronted by armed police.

        However, as he was vacuuming and preparing for a dinner party, he didn't answer the phone but made a mental note to check his voice mail.

        The police had to respond and it did seem to end rather quickly. Had he answered the phone things would have gone down at least slightly differently. The police would've had to still check the situation out but perhaps it would've been easier on him.

        So, a big "Thank You" to Brian Krebs for his on-going work on computer security issues and a big "fuck you" to whomever called 911 with his phone number faked as the calling number.

        • 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: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, Funny)

            by mabhatter654 (561290) on Saturday March 16, 2013 @01:10AM (#43188859)

            Woah there buddy!

            Watch where you swing that common sense... It could hurt somebody.

          • Re:Danger. (Score:5, Informative)

            by b4dc0d3r (1268512) on Saturday March 16, 2013 @01:56AM (#43188989)

            Aecurity and authentication were not built in to POTS protocols. That answers your question. They were not designed to handle geolocation nor identity.

            The caller ID system relies on either the caller, or a database provided by the caller's provider. Once you transfer from one provider to another, typical in any long-distance call, the second provider has no way to track the caller beyond what the first provider claims. I found this article enlightening, although slightly off topic it is fundamentally about caller ID spoofing.

            http://telemarketerspam.wordpress.com/2012/10/08/pacific-telecoms-robo-call-revenue-sharing-scheme-revealed/ [wordpress.com]

            Now you're going to ask why we can't fix it? Because it's not worth the amount of money it would take to re-configure the entire phone infrastructure. The companies that would pay the most would benefit the least. Individuals would not sign up in large enough numbers, and so we are stuck.

            Yes we have the technology, but not the will. US Congress has made it illegal to send false info, but has not found a way to ensure companies follow the law. As common carriers, they can set up a scam-friendly block and blame the customers for all mischief. The only way to positively identify the people behind the calls is to hand over your credit card information, let a bogus charge hit, and spent a few years fighting back.

            • by Mateorabi (108522)
              It would be simple enough for the receiving provider to check if the purported source wasn't in their own database for their own customers. There is absolutely no reason a call from within their territory, going to the 911 center also in their territory, should be crossing from some other outside provider to them.
              • Because compromising telecommunications equipment isn't trivial./s

                Give it a miss while you're ahead, man; the '80s had their phreaks, and proved that much like declaring your company's server 'uncrackable,' no telecom is going to take out a front page ad saying that their system cannot be fooled by someone with the will to do so.

                Doing something like that would rank about as highly as the US Navy declaring one of their boats unsinkable. Might as well christen it the 'Sol Invictus,' paint a bulls-eye on the s

          • Because security isn't, uhm, magic? It's not like you tick a little box, and it just works. At any given time, half the human race is trying to break that security, and the other half is trying to improve it.

            And it's not like you can 'tighten' security by being increasingly belligerent, engaging in background checks, and going through people's trash. That just antagonizes people, and makes them work against you.

            If you want a more secure populace, you might want a slightly more intelligent one. True, it does

          • authenticate whether a phone call actually originated from a specific phone

            Would it surprise you to learn there are bad guys, perverts, and pranksters working at telco companies? - (aside from the white collar variety that hang around board rooms). Although I have some sympathy with the claim that SWAT teams are overused in the US, you cannot simply sit on your hands and wait for perfect information. In this case the cops appear to have done everything right because at the end of the day, looking foolish on the internet is preferable to looking negligent in front of a coroner.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by tsotha (720379)

        That and Brian is white, so that helps...

        Not much actual evidence this is the case.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Seumas (6865)

          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").

          • by gd2shoe (747932)

            You've overlooked something important.

            There are more incidents of Cops shooting unarmed black men... but these shootings are also much, MUCH more likely to be reported on, and passed around by word of mouth.

            For instance: This story didn't have anyone getting shot, much less a black person. Yet, the idea of black people getting shot still made it into the thread.

            THAT makes a real statement about the over-sensitivity of race on the issue.

            • Because a black man with a running vacuum in his hand WOULD have been shot. A vacuum hose is long, black, about as long as a gun... Sometimes has a handle. And he lives in a "colored" neighborhood so you can't be too sure.

              Sadly I'm not kidding much.

              • by gd2shoe (747932)

                ... Sadly I'm not kidding much.

                Sadly, you're not. I think you're greatly mistaken, but I am sure you're not kidding.

                • The point is that the Swat rolled up in a nicer neighbor hood, and the victim was a professional reporter with experience... To know how not to end up a "story" and keep a cool head in the middle of police screaming and such.

                  I'm a plain white IT guy. I lived in a "bad" neighborhood years ago. You start getting knocks on the door from police ar 3am for no reason and it goes to your head... Fast. If this happened to me, I'd end up a "story".

                  Swat tactics are designed to make people experience panic and "fight

                  • by gd2shoe (747932)

                    Swat tactics are designed to make people experience panic and "fight or flight". They are designed (military, police, psychologists...) to cause certain personalities (like average black people) to kick into violent defense mode so "suspects" can be arrested for fighting the swat team.

                    SWAT tactics are designed to permit cops to deal with harsh situation without coming away injured. The safety of everyone else is important to them, but secondary. As long as no cops or children were injured the day wasn't all that bad. They either come in hard and fast to avoid giving armed suspects time to react (and usually avoid firing their weapons at all when they do this). Or they lay siege to a residence for hours at a time, and try to talk them out (or wait for them to shoot themselves). Rathe

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Seumas (6865)

        Which was one of the most curios parts of the story, because I would expect said warning to be blown off as paranoia and forgotten when it came time to respond. This whole thing could have ended very badly. Even with the most level-headed and respectable cops.

        I once called the police, because I had moved into a new home and woke up in the middle of the night to what sounded like someone coming in through a window. I didn't realize the weather had changed and it was windy and noisy up-stairs. While the cops

      • by Mashiki (184564)

        Thankfully Brian had already contacted his local PD and advised them that this was a distinct possibility so they were prepared for the possibility that it was a hoax when they arrived.

        Odd that this has been going on for awhile and to a variety of people like DA's, and members of law enforcement too. And while it hasn't made a blip on /. before this it's suddenly news. Well here's something useful, back last yearish a variety of people called on the DOJ/Obama admin to get their heads out of their ass on this. Apparently though they don't think this is a 'serious enough of a threat.'

    • 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:5, Interesting)

          by SwedishPenguin (1035756) on Friday March 15, 2013 @07:45PM (#43187433)

          I was mainly suggesting a way around the "shoot first, ask questions later" mentality. If cops are not allowed to use guns in their day-to-day activity, the force likely does not attract gun-nuts and the like. 99.99% of the time, there's no need for the police to be carrying guns around. Again, this may not work in countries like the US, but in most of the western world I believe it would.

          • What do they do when someone pulls a knife? Tries to run them over? Sics a dog on them? Do they train to run away really fast, or do they rely on the criminals to take pity on their helplessness?
            • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

              by Anonymous Coward

              What do they do when someone pulls a knife? Tries to run them over? Sics a dog on them? Do they train to run away really fast, or do they rely on the criminals to take pity on their helplessness?

              I can't speak for Norway, but in the UK police carry big sticks and wear stab vests, which is usually sufficient. Although they have started rolling out tasers to officers working in particularly rough parts of the country; those are usually kept in the car until needed, rather than being routinely carried while on patrol.

        • The problem is this: Prank or not, Krebs opened his front door and suddenly had multiple guns pointed at him. Add in a sudden loud noise and at least one of the cops might have opened up on him. And once one cop starts firing, they ALL open up. I want to see more investigation before guns are even pointed at people.
      • by X0563511 (793323)

        They are. Rather, the "real" firearms are. That's why this particular hoax involves a SWAT team - Special Weapons and Tactics. These are the guys wearing the heavy body armor, carrying automatics and the like. I'm sure you have something equivalent. You can be sure they don't get dispatched without cause, because they break down doors, carry flashbangs and the like.

        Totally different beast than an officer checking things out.

        • And "Danger" is right. This is basically the top of the line for evil. How can a police dept ever know what to do if there's the specter this was cry-wolf? And ... Brian Krebs?! I know he annoyed the underground, but he's just about in the best possible place to survive one of these attacks. How about instead some more naive social rights protester? They could make a mistake out of fear and the whole thing would go wrong.

          And ... something that's bothering me ... 2013?! Really?! All the precedents for this w

          • by Seumas (6865)

            You make an interesting point. Only one potential harm of this is an over-reaction resulting in a dead innocent citizen. The other potential harm is if this gets out of hand and SWAT at some point under-reacts due to so many hoaxes, leaving some slack for something to go truly wrong when it's the real thing. Of course, my understanding is that SWAT are the best of the best (at least as far as domestic cops go) and I imagine they'd approach the 500th hoax as just as real a situation as the first hoax.

          • This is worthy of the Joker from Batman. We don't live in a society where people are that callous and mean. Someone picked up SWAT are trained for whistle and bell and lost their cleverness. The FBI isn't much better. They have an extremely predictable mo for things like Waco to repeat.. Usually it's wannabe martyrs that incite them.. What if it wasn't?

            Nobody has stepped down to that level yet... To intentionally set society on fire. This shows the matchs are just lying about.

      • by Ol Olsoc (1175323)

        Very true. The UK and Norway have the right idea, firearms should only be present only when the situation specifically calls for it.

        An even better idea would be to use a telephone system that wasn't so easy to hack. Our insane rush to put everything on the interWebZ only proves that the people running the show have no idea how it works.

        Pretty simple to pose as someone else when you can do it form the comfort of your own computer

        I wonder how they used to do it. I'm envisioning lines on poles. Nahhh that couldn't work.

      • Re:Danger. (Score:4, Interesting)

        by Nyder (754090) on Saturday March 16, 2013 @12:54AM (#43188807) Journal

        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.

        Ya, it sucks, I live in the United States and the only guns I have ever seen pulled on someone was by cops. We do need to do something about the gun violence here, these cops are out of control!!!

        Seriously, in the 40+ years I've been alive, I have only seen cops pull guns on people (people without guns, I might add), never the other way around.

        We do have a problem, but it's not what people think.

        • by Xest (935314)

          In the UK we follow the idea of policing by consent. The principle is that the police are not above other citizens but work with and for them. This is why they do not carry firearms as standard because that breaks this social contract that they are our equals, rather than there to control us. The firearms come out when they are dealing with someone who themselves have firearms. I'll admit this has been corrupted somewhat since 9/11 where we do have officers patrolling some airports with guns, but for the mo

    • by erroneus (253617)

      I don't know... if somehow they could have, in the 9-1-1 call, put out that a policeman has been killed or something like that, I'm not sure the possibility that it was a hoax would be enough to stop the shoot-first reaction. They tend to go pretty crazy when that happens.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by tsotha (720379)

      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.

      • 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, Informative)

          by im_thatoneguy (819432) on Friday March 15, 2013 @10:25PM (#43188247)

          To your point: you're far more likely to die as a commercial fisherman, roofer or electrician than a cop.

          • by abigsmurf (919188)
            That's not a fair comparison for a number of reasons though:

            Commercial fisherman tend to earn a lot more.

            The danger is of a different nature. A cop may die because he has no choice but to put himself in a dangerous position, an electrician or roofer is more likely to die through his (or a co-workers) carelessness in an avoidable death.

            Lastly lots of police officers aren't actively on the beat or in harms way. They may be crime scene or have a deskjob but they'll all be described as being a member o
        • by murdocj (543661)

          Really? You really think that being a cop is just as safe as, say, sitting behind a computer terminal? What planet do you live on?

          • Most people don't sit behind a computer terminal as a job. Is the work of being a cop more dangerous that, say, a miner?

        • Depends where you live. There are some parts of Miami here where people shooting each other and hearing gunfire is the norm. The horrible, ,unjust, corrupt, unfair job police do is what is destroying police credibility in this country.
      • 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".

        • by tsotha (720379)

          Rare as in compared to the number of calls of this nature cops go out on every day your odds of being shot are statistically zero.

          And then you go on to discuss singular incidents. You realize the US is a country of over three hundred million people, right?

    • I really don't think deadly force action by police OR by response from the target is the danger we should be discussing. Believe it or not, police try to make an effort to ascertain the veracity of their intel before making a move like you've imagined.

      Besides, statistically speaking, THAT scenario is not why there are strict penalties for fraudulent crime reports. The scenario I've already mentioned is why: the police are unable to respond to actual crimes when they are occupied with unreal crimes/emergenci

      • by 0111 1110 (518466)

        Believe it or not, police try to make an effort to ascertain the veracity of their intel before making a move like you've imagined.

        I don't believe it. Not for a second. They have itchy trigger fingers and are looking for targets.

    • 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

      And why do you suppose that is? Could it be the arrogant over confidence that comes from knowledge that they outgun the average citizen? I submit to you that were the police to face citizens armed equally as well as them they would have a greater degree of humility and respect for the people whom they claim to protect and serve. The 2nd Amendment of the United States Constitution was put into the Bill of Rights, immediately following protection of speech, for a reason; it wasn't a coincidence or an accident

      • I submit to you that were the police to face citizens armed equally as well as them they would have a greater degree of humility and respect for the people whom they claim to protect and serve.

        Respect and fear are different things. Dealing with somebody who is armed naturally escalates the situation. Look at the current way the police respond to situations when somebody is suspected to be armed; they don't have conversations, they issue commands. Non-cooperation with those commands, even if it is within your rights, is seen as an increase in potential threat.

        It's wise to limit one's dealings with the police in any case because they're here to keep the peace generally, not to protect you as an individual. It's an inherently adversarial relationship and ought to be viewed as such by every citizen who values their freedom.

        Exactly, law enforcement exists to prevent "bad stuff" from happening and execute the law as they are told. Individual rights and notion

    • I am not a general fan of law enforcement practices in be US.

      However. In this case, the police actually showed up, in force, because they thought Krebs' family were the victims of violent crime, and that he was in danger. And when that turned out not to be the case, they reacted reasonably and calmly and no one was injured.

      This is a situation where the police actually did right, and should be commended for it.

    • It might make cops more cautious about doing 'no knocks' &/or blasting away

  • I've noticed Ars being incredibly slow today, are they under attack?

    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 15, 2013 @07:43PM (#43187413)

      This morning, Dan Goodin, a good friend and colleague at Ars Technica, published a story about my ordeal after a late night phone interview. This morning, Ars Technica found itself on the receiving end of a nearly identical attack that was launched against my site on Thursday. Turns out, the records at booter.tw show clearly that a customer named Starfall using that same Gmail address also paid for an attack on Arstechnica.com, beginning at approximately 11:54 a.m. ET. A snippet of the logs from booter.tw showing the attack on Ars Technica.com (a.k.a. ‘http://50.31.151.33‘ in the logs) is here.

      According to Eric Bangeman, Ars Technica’s managing editor, their site was indeed attacked starting earlier this morning with a denial-of-service flood that briefly knocked the site offline.

      “We’ve been up and down all morning, and the [content management system] was basically inaccessible for 2 hours,” Bangeman said, adding that he wasn’t aware of an attack of similar size that knocked the site offline. “If it did, it wasn’t enough to be registering in my memory, and I’ve been around for 10 years.”

  • 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?

    • by RedLeg (22564)
      No.

      There is inherent danger in taking on a criminal element, cyber or otherwise, either as a reporter or a member of the law enforcement community. They are criminals, and do not adhere to the norms (laws and ethics) of society. Brian has chosen his path of reporting on and exposing these miscreants in a public forum, and to not hide his identity, knowing full well the risks of repercussions. He was so aware of the specific threat of being SWATted that he approached his local Law Enforcement authoritie

    • by mjwalshe (1680392)
      err you didn't get the Russian connection ;-) in both the post and in the individuals Brian was outing. Likening Russia to a bear is a very old meme.
  • 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."

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      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??

  • 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: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      CallerID on landlines can be hacked by an Orange box. Though this won't usually work with 911.
      Probably this was done from VOIP to E911. Supposedly easier to hack.
      It's unlikely the call came from a cellphone.
      It's only going to get worse now that some 911 dispatches accept SMS/texts.

      Full disclosure: Infosec guy. Haven't actually done any of this, but I did make a red box in college with my HP95lx. Never got it to work.

  • The most prominent cases of SWATing I'm aware of have been carried out against conservative bloggers:

    Several cases seen to involve people criticizing convicted Speedway Bomber felon (and left-wing activist) Brett Kimberlin [battleswarmblog.com].

A CONS is an object which cares. -- Bernie Greenberg.

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