In a public service announcement released today, the US FBI has warned about the recent swatting incidents happening. In its notice, it said that hackers are fake calling emergency teams and compromising the smart devices in home-like security cameras to live-stream the swatting incidents.
Triggering Emergency Teams With Fake Calls
Swatting is a deadly problem that has to be controlled. Performing this includes a prankster calling the emergency response teams like SWAT and informing about a fake crime incident at the target’s residence. All this is to watch and enjoy the deployment and movement of emergency teams.
These sadistic incidents were initially started in the US in the mid-2010s, and have been increasing gradually. This has grown so problematic in recent times, where one incident led to the accidental killing of innocent people. Now, there’s a new trend growing up as notified by the FBI.
As per the latest Public Service Announcement released by the US Federal Bureau of Investigation, hackers are hijacking the smart home devices of both audio and video to perform swatting tricks and live to stream them.
They said, “Recently, offenders have been using victims’ smart devices, including video and audio capable home surveillance devices, to carry out swatting attacks.”
Compromising of those devices is happening because their owners are using weak credentials to secure them, like the same passwords used in other online accounts that were previously used in compromised devices from the past. Since these are available in dark web forums for purchase, an attacker may try them for hijacking them.
Also, pranksters are using anonymous calling services like Discord bots and dark web services to call emergency services and ask for deploying helping teams.
Phonecord Discord bot that allowed users to place anonymous calls, used for swatting and harassment, appears to have shut down pic.twitter.com/jwAwFNJFop
— Catalin Cimpanu (@campuscodi) October 28, 2017
“As law enforcement responds to the residence, the offender watches the live stream footage and engages with the responding police through the camera and speakers,” said the FBI.
Also, hackers are sharing these live streams on “shared online community platforms” in some cases.
Since this leads to wastage of resources, the FBI said it’s working with device OEMs to advise their customers on using strong passwords and also making the first responders of emergency services detect such swatting calls.