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FBI: Smart Devices were hijacked by pranksters to live-stream swatting incidents

Pranksters targeting smart devices with poor cybersecurity protection for live streaming events. They have taken over the smart devices of suspects as well as audio/video home monitoring devices to carry out swatting assaults. Swatting occurs where a person intentionally declares a bogus serious crime, such as murder, etc.

If you are curious to know what swatting is all about:

Swatting is making a false call to the emergency services to warn them of an “immediate threat to human life” Although sending hoax calls to law enforcement officials has been around for decades, swatting has steadily gained attention.

In such situations, law enforcement agencies are sending SWAT (Special Arms and Tactics) units to track the situation. These swatting attacks are inspired by vengeance or intimidation. Swatting is a felony, and if found guilty, it will lead to jail and heavy fines.

The earliest reported cases of a live-streaming event date back to the mid-2010s. The distinction between what the FBI is reporting now and the original events is that the machines were not being compromised.

Pranksters can recognize social gatherings that were streamed live and plan for the event to take place, such as weddings, church functions, and more.

Many of these swatting calls are made by internet platforms that offer encrypted calling capabilities—such as Discord bots and dark web services.

To counteract these emerging hack and swat cases, office officials said they are now partnering with software manufacturers to educate consumers about how to pick safer passwords for their smartphones.

In addition, the FBI said it was still trying to alert first-time law enforcement officers to this new swatting variation, so they could react appropriately.

As far as computer owners are concerned, the same recommendation remains valid: use complicated and special passwords for every one of your online accounts. Use two-factor authentication if available.

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