Meet A Teenager Who Says He's A Swatter

Meet A Teenager Who Says He's A Swatter

A Runescape player was recently swatted while 60,000 people watched his stream. When he tried to record a video talking about the incident, he broke down crying. A few days ago, a 19-year-old in Las Vegas was arrested for coordinating a swatting in Illinois. What motivates someone to take this dangerous step? I tracked down a self-professed swatter to find out.

How I got to that point requires a little setup.

One of my first stories at Kotaku was about a couple recounting their terrifying experience of being swatted while their three children were home with them. Swatting, if you don't know, involves a call being made to police about a violent but imaginary crime. That incident shared a common thread with other swattings: the use of someone else's personal information without their permission. To avoid being swatted, you'd want to keep your personal info offline as much as possible. As a follow-up, I researched ways to learn what parts of our lives are already online, and I published a piece outlining how to remove those items from the Internet.

When that second swatting piece went live, it wound up on the Twitch subreddit. A commenter by the name of ZeroExFF spoke up and said he helped organise several swattings in the past. He then described how he and others had used various techniques to obtain detailed personal information about folks using the customer service departments of PayPal, Amazon, and others.

Meet A Teenager Who Says He's A Swatter

The techniques ZeroExFF claimed to use are more commonly referred to as social engineering, as it requires tricking a human being to reveal information. Everything he said lined up with what I'd reported about social engineering in the past, and his admission piqued my interest.

When we discuss swatting and other forms of harassment, we understandably focus on the feelings and reactions of victims. We often forget to question the motivations of the harasser. I wanted to know more about that, and I hoped ZeroExFF could explain.

I messaged this self-professed swatter, and he quickly got back back to me. He created a new account on Skype, and we talked for about 90 minutes. What he told me was surprising and revealing about the psychology driving those who spend their time tormenting others on the Internet.

I do not know this person's name, but he claimed to be 16 years old, and he sounded young to me. He said his descent into the Internet underground began when he was 14 years old. Due to, he said, fears over potential legal action for events he was involved in over the past few years, ZeroExFF would not reveal specifics about his actions or disclose details about his life. The irony is not lost on me.

So there's a big caveat to all that follows. I can't prove its true. I can't prove that the stories he told me about how he'd deceive people to get personal information are real. I nevertheless believe it's important to try to understand this murkier side of one of the most notorious and dangerous forms of modern harassment. What follows is an attempt to get a more clear picture.

I ran excerpts from this conversation by several cybersecurity experts, all of whom told me ZeroExFF very much sounded like an individual who knew what they were talking about.

In his own words, here's what he told me.

Warning: There is some strong, potentially offensive language ahead.

Meet A Teenager Who Says He's A Swatter

The Reason You Invade Someone's Personal Life

Being able to intimidate someone is really fun, whether someone will admit it or not.

I'd get bored and wanted to see if I could trick X service into giving me Z information by doing Y type of call. It was a game to me. I found it fun. I never really released doxxes. I didn't see the point of it. I didn't care. I found it fun tricking the system into giving me information. I felt all-knowing, which is a feeling that a lot of people crave. I felt like I was something special. Not everyone could do this. And it's true! Not everyone can. You're gonna get someone who's just got a f**king terrible knack for it that can't do it, but I'm definitely not special for being able to.

I had that craving of feeling like the smartest person on the call or the smartest person in the room. I had that craving for it. I'm like that in real-life. Honestly, I surround myself with people who are actually really smart. My best friend in the world right now is probably one of the smartest f**king people I know. Again, it's that superiority thing, that you want to be better than people. I thought that would make me better than them. When, in reality, it put me quite a few pegs down. I was this immature kid who wanted to be known. Someone's going to be like "Well, they got bullied in their own school." No. Most of these people were probably the f**king class clowns and loved in their school.

Meet A Teenager Who Says He's A Swatter

Becoming Part Of The Doxxing Scene

I was learning Python [a programming language] about two years ago, and I ended up in this IRC [channel]. I don't want to call it the scene because that's what everyone's calling it, and it's not a scene. If it's a scene, it's a scene full of retards — self-proclaimed retards, too.

I had a question about the streamer I was watching at the time. I forgot how long it was. This was when Twitch.TV still had their old site design. They just added me to this group call with a few other people, and they were calling an ISP [to get information]. And I went, "OK, that's cool. That's interesting how that happens." I was already aware of it, but I had never been in a call with someone who did it. Honestly, I didn't care. I thought it was petty and stupid, and it is petty and stupid.

I guess they needed another one called in, so they were like "Hey, wanna do it?" And I was like "Sure, I'll do it." It was really easy, and it was fine.

It's like asking a girl out when you don't care, which is also something I did in high school before I left. A lot. My friends would give me $US10, and I would just run around asking girls out, who I know would say no. Or breaking up with girls that I'm not going out with publicly. That's funny.

Having the voice is a big part of it. You need to be able to have a representative voice, right? You need to have the proper voice inflection. And I was just-so-lucky to work for DirectTV [through an external third-party service] for a year or two. All I did was talk to retards all day. I don't know if you've ever had a job where you answer phones, but the inflections that you use in your voice are much different than your everyday talk. It's that you want to appear as though you give a shit. Once you have the inflection down, and once you have what tools they use — which are public — you do anything.

I was calling COX for a friend. I called it in at four in the morning my time. The girl was like "COX chat support is currently closed, sir." I was like "Yeah, I'm residential, I take my work really seriously." And she was like "Oh, ok." And I got it [the info] anyways. It was so dumb.

I think COX or Time Warner started to implement this fraud protection, where if someone asks for any information over the phone, they will just supervisor.exe, which is what we call getting a supervisor on you. If you get supervisored, you're f**ked. You're not getting anything. You need to call back.

You can f**k with a supervisor. I got a Filipino supervisor once, and I f**ked with him a little bit. I didn't get any information from him, but I offered to suck his dick for the account number. The guy started laughing. I basically f**ked with him for 20 minutes about how I'd give him a hand job. I was just sitting there. Everyone was at my house and was just listening to me. "I will suck your dick for the account number." My brother's just looking at me going "What the f**k are you doing?" Maybe he wanted the dick sucking. I don't know.

Even With Fancy Passwords, We're Not Truly Safe

The exploits are anywhere you give your money. Those are the holes. Anyone you give your money, anyone who has your phone number, anyone who has your address — they're exploits. If their support line is based on human interaction, it's super easy.

I can call any ISP in the world, or I can get on chat support with any ISP in the world. We can get the tools they use. That's what you need to do before you call an ISP. You call them, and you say "Hi, my name is Richard, I work out of this region. This is my first day. I wasn't really listening to what my manager had to say. What is the tool to look up modems? Modem activity?" Stuff like that. Most of the time, they will just give it to you. You ask them for their name and employee ID [EID], just to verify they're an actual employee is what you say. Most of them will believe it. "Oh, it's just this guy's first day. He doesn't know what the f**k he's doing. What's he going to do with my EID?" But then you call and say "Hi, my name is Elizabeth Wallace. My EID is 20657. Can I please get an IP lookup done? My workstation's having issues."

Most agents, I know more about the program than they do. I have to guide them through it in order to look up an IP. You don't need to be megamind, basically. That's the entire point of what I'm talking about. You can be retarded to do it.

Meet A Teenager Who Says He's A Swatter

People Think You're A Hollywood Hacker

It's really fun. Not to mention, to people who don't know any better, it's impressive. You can make money off it because they don't know they can just go and do it themselves. You can call any ISP left and right for $US10 each. You can give them the information. I had a stipulation, though. If I called anyone's ISP and gave them their information and they had a SWAT team at the house within the next month and I was contacted by the police, I would give them their information — the person who bought it.

I didn't always condone swatting. I always thought it to be really immature and really kind of petty. That's why I didn't participate in it as much. The only times where I did — and I haven't done it in a while — was when I just had this uncanny hatred for them.

The first person ran around Minecraft servers getting kids on Skype, promising to give them items. Once he got them on Skype, he would dox them, get their parents on the phone, and basically try to trick their parents into sending them money. [pause] He was exploiting 8-year-olds for their parents' money. I didn't consider myself the f**king Batman of swat teams, but at the same time, he was getting recognition for it, which also bothered me. What's the police department going to do? No one knew his name at the time. Very few people actually go down. You don't get recognition for exploiting eight-year-olds. I'm sorry. You're not getting that, that's not gonna happen. There's no way. On top of that, you're exploiting eight-year-olds. That's so unfair.

Sure, it's one thing to mess with a teenager girl or a young, adult woman. That's one thing that's kinda f**ked up. They're old enough to understand what's going on. They're old enough to understand that they can get past it. But an eight-year-old? Sometimes it was an eight-year-old girl. They're crying. That little kid thinks their life is over. They're done. Their Minecraft account's stolen. He would basically just exploit their parents — exploit them to exploit their parents to get money. It would work.

Meet A Teenager Who Says He's A Swatter

Your voice doesn't matter when you're swatting people. I mean, it matters to an extent, but the amount of shits police departments give is so f**king close to zero. Most people use the same story. "I'm in the basement with hostages at this address." If the place doesn't have an address, just say in the master bedroom. "I have them tied up, back-to-back in chairs, I have bombs rigged to each window and door, I want a plane out of the country." You just create a hostage situation. Personally, I would say that and get the f**k out. That's how they catch people — people taking credit.

People argue that people can die when they're swatted. People can get shot. Which is true. People would say this on the call with the department: "If I see a police officer without the money, I will shoot him on sight." Once you start threatening police officers, they're more likely to f**king shoot someone. A swatting can work just the same when you say "I'm in the basement of this address with hostages. I'm done. Bye." That would work.

Will it get their door kicked in? Eh, maybe. But the SWAT team is gonna go, which is your main reasoning behind it.

A Few Safety Tips From Someone Who Knows Better

You have to get an ISP that people don't have methods for. And by methods, I mean what tools they use and what they're used for. People can get methods for it easily. Really easily. But a lot of people don't know how to get methods.

Put a lock on your account and make it so no one can call in about your account — at all. They can't call in, they can't even get your first name, they can't get the first digit of your account number, they can't call in about any issues. Once you have your ISP setup, call those motherf**kers every day until they do it. And if they say they have done it, make them do it again. You call them and say "I want to set up a password on my account and I want to verify my identity with the last four digits of my social security number whenever I call." They have a note section when they pull up the account on their tools that, in big bold letters, "get this fag's social security number." Do that.

On top of that, call your police department. That's pretty simple. If you're a streamer, if you have 500 followers, it doesn't matter. Call your police department and say "Hi, my name is so-and-so. I live at this address. This is my cell phone number. This is my home phone number. This is my email address. I do things on the Internet where it involves me being a public figure. My information might get released." Then, you politely ask them if they know what swatting is. If they say no, you're f**ked. But they won't. Everyone knows what it is now.

Meet A Teenager Who Says He's A Swatter

The Cost Of Being A YouTuber

People think that getting swatted is the end game of the Internet. You're done for. It doesn't matter. As long as you don't have anything to hide, it really doesn't matter. If you have weed, put it under your bed or something. It doesn't end your life. You're fine. Are people gonna tweet at you and say "oh, your door got kicked in?" Yeah. Sure. But, I mean, you're still gonna go on about your day like you would have the day before. Once a month, are you gonna have to take take 30 minutes out of a Saturday night to make sure that your door's not getting kicked in? Sure. But that should be the cost of streaming. That should be the cost of being a YouTuber.

13 year olds can f**k up your night. Don't give a shit about it. Even if you care, pretend not to. That's gonna make you the joke. That's gonna make you someone they can go back to next Friday when they don't have to go to school in the morning. The best thing you can do, even if you're scared shitless — which, honestly, I'd call you a pussy for — but even if you're scared shitless and a SWAT team is going to come to your house, you need to play it off like you don't give a shit. A lot of people are put in this situation where they get tweeted at with "SWAT coming!" And their chat blows up. "You're getting swatted, holy shit!" You need to call the police right then and there, even if the team's already dispatched.

Sometimes, Even Swatters Grow A Conscience

Recognition and credit. That's the reason why it's done.

Can I steal your Netflix? Can I call in your Comcast? Can I break down your door? Yeah, sure. And? Should there be something special about that? No. It's [being] a glorified liar. It's all it is. I think a lot of people who are doing it understand it. I think they know, in their minds, they're nothing f**king special. But they have these people who follow them and they know who they are. They think they're special. Those people think that these people are really legitimate.

I have no doubt in my mind that, three years down the road, I'm still going to get questioned for shit I did this year. When I say this year, I do mean 2015.

I recently took a step back from all this from the big picture. I'm 16 years old, ok? I don't want to be risking my life. That's what I would be doing. I would be risking my life. I'm done with high school. That doesn't mean I'm smart — that means I did Internet school. Don't misconstrue that. All I have to do right now is save money and go to college. I can't go to college for another year or two, which is fine. That's all I have to do, and then I'm 20, I could literally f**k all of that up by continuing to do what I was doing. All of it. That just didn't seem reasonable to me.

It just didn't seem like I was getting enough pleasure from it. I was sitting there and this girl just got her door kicked down. She's crying.

I've been swatted before. All I have to say about it is that I didn't care. I told the police officers "This is his Twitter username, he tweeted at me. This is the IP I resolved from Skype. This is this, this is that." They wouldn't do anything with it, and they'd be on their own. I just didn't care. It was a minor inconvenience for me. It's not like they kicked down my door.

I explained this to my real-life friends, too. "What's swatting? Why are you in cuffs? Why are the police always at your house?" And I explained it to them. "Why do you do that?" That was when I questioned myself. My friends are like "What the f**k are you doing? Why are you doing this?" I was like "It's fun." "It's fun to ruin someone's night? What do you mean?"

Meet A Teenager Who Says He's A Swatter

At the time, I was like 15, and I was like "Yeah, I'm trolling 'em!" They're like "No, you're not. You're not trolling anyone. You're being a dick." And I was like "Damn, dude. F**k. He's right."

I think trolling is a big part of this. That's this kind of era. It's just f**ked up in [and] of itself. Is it fun to troll around with people and f**k with them in a video game? I'm not saying to drop [release] their dox, but is it fun to try and antagonise? Yeah, it can be. Is it fun to spam 8chan with Rick Astley? Sure, it's pretty fun. That's trolling. That's the innocent "Ha ha ha! Got you!" kind of shit. And these people, like I did, are considering this "Ha ha ha, your door's kicked down and your dog is dead! Gotcha!" type of thing.

It's just escalating. It's going to continue to escalate. It's stupid.

The reason why this is such an issue is because everyone seems to care about it on Twitter. These public figures, senators and stuff. They seem to give a shit, right? But what are they doing to stop it? Everyone needs to ask them. They aren't doing anything.

That's really all I have to say about why it's done. They want everyone to know what they are and what they do, and they want people to be scared of them.


Comments

    Gross, what a bunch of assholes.

      They should make it so anyone that "swats" is charged with attempted murder.

        scum of the earth. They should be doing a minimum of 18 months hard time for this shit.

        Send them a bill for the police time & resources wasted How much does an hour of a SWAT team's time cost? I would be surprised if it was south of $1000. Take that amount and double it.

        These are 16-year-olds, they won't be going to jail. Give their parents a bill for five thousand dollars and you know their behaviour will change.

          Absolutely. If you hit little Johnny Swat-Swat's parents in the hip pocket, you can be sure that little bastard will be aware of the consequences of their actions.

          How hard is it to prove they're a swatter, though?

            It may not be too hard if they call from a phone with some form of reliable caller ID. My understanding is that even with caller ID turned off, it's possible to track the caller under some circumstances.

            Somebody sufficiently smart can prevent those circumstances (for example, by calling from a throwaway phone with a prepaid SIM) but I think it's established that at least some of the people making these calls are basically idiots.

              Aren't they calling through the internet with stolen skype details?

              Surely they aren't stupid enough to use their own Mobiles (well the ones who aren't caught) .

    Not sure about anyone else but I don't care for their reasons or anything else about them. These little shits need to be arrested, charged and thrown in with the big boys so they can be treated like the little bitches they are.

      You should care. Without understanding their reasons and lives you can't effectively stop them. Prison won't be a deterrent when it's so very easy for them to get away with it in the first place.

      That's a huge part of the problem with this and other misdeeds. Everyone wants to focus on punishing them after the deed, but that's just the easy way to feel like something is being done. By all means DO arrest and punish them, but don't stop there and assume the problem is solved.

      It's a lot harder to try to understand and fix the social issues that produce individuals that enjoy doing this sort of thing, but that is the best way to ultimately solve the problem.

        This is probably the most sensible comment in this thread.

        That said I suppose the mob does like to have its pitchforks sharpened and torches lit.

        Yep, perfect way to respond. Unfortunately everyone seems to think that if something makes you angry, all pointless, irrational and ignorant courses of action that don't prevent anything are now viable,

      You mean, trained by veteran criminals, and abused so they will get an even more warped version of the world and hatred against everybody and everything?

    Good discussion piece - with caveats obviously.

    I still don't respect people who do this though. Like his friend said, he's not trolling, he's being a terrible person.

    Out of the mouths of fuckwits... amirite?

    The motivations of the perpetrator are irrelevant.

    All that is relevant is finding them. And making sure terrible, merciless justice happens to them.

      Hate to break it to you trans but justice is neither merciless nor terrible. If it was, it wouldn't be justice it would be vengeance.

        In the US, 'justice' is 70% retribution.

          If we're limiting ourselves to what the US does... well I have no arguments against that.

          However I might point out that if we were only to reserve our definitions of justice by what people "have" done and not "aspire" to do, the word loses its very meaning.

        Well. That depends on your definition of justice. I'm arguing for justice, not law. Which, (somewhat perversely), calls itself justice.

        There's a decent degree of overlap between the discrete concepts of justice, vengeance, and law, but they are not synonymous.

        In my opinion, justice for swatting has a decent degree of overlap with what some might see as 'vengeance'.

          I have no delusions that the law is 'just' however with all its flaws it probably does a better job than what you seem to prescribe to be justice.

          You would enact merciless and terrible action (in this instance) against a bored and mentally disturbed 14-16 year old just because you believe swatting to be a crime that deserves that punishment?

          Justice isn't an opinion it's a term. It stands for action that is fair and resolved; it doesn't prescribe to emotion and it doesn't bend for anger. If it did we would have a legal system where the victims could dictate the punishment. If what you believe to be justice at any point can be confused for vengeance then you no longer serve justice.

          With your line of thought do you believe that a police force which is a society's primary representation of justice should take an attitude that mixes justice and vengeance?

            As someone else already pointed out, in many places (such as the US) yes... that's exactly how it is.

            And while my initial reaction was completely emotional and partially hyperbolic, if you want to take it seriously, then yeah... OK. Let's get into it. My stance doesn't waver much.

            Well, apart from some ambiguity on terms. Specifically: based on your reaction, we may have different ideas on what constitutes 'merciless and terrible'. Those are pretty non-specific. Perhaps you're attributing to me the demand for some kind of physical beating with permanent bodily harm, or getting raped in prison. (Although I do certainly advocate imprisonment, and if terrible things happen there, it's not entirely cause-and-effect.) I'd negotiate to dropping the 'merciless' part, but not the terrible. Terrible comes in many forms.

            So. First off, I don't consider that mental disturbance or boredom are in any way whatsoever mitigating factors. They're reasons, not excuses. Youth? Maybe. To a point. It's difficult to consider whether calculated disdain for empathy is more dangerous than misguided ignorance, but regardless of which is worse what is utterly undeniable is that someone who doesn't understand what's wrong with their actions is dangerous. If you consider putting lives at risk to be a joke, then society deserves - NEEDS - to be protected from you. For as long as it takes for you to not only understand that other people don't consider it a joke, but for it to be internalized.

            The multiple facets of Justice are protective, punitive, and preventative.
            We lock people up to protect society from them.
            We do it in harsh places that are not fun to be, as punishment.
            And even though the degree of effectiveness is disputable, the certainty of punishment is preventative, outside of crimes of passion.

            While positive reinforcement may be debated to yield faster results (in some circumstances), it also disregards the multiple facets to justice, such as consideration for the desires of victims, to help them recover. Fortunately for the revenge impulses of the victims, as a society we've made the decision that as far as the law is concerned discomfort and deprivation of liberty are the negative-reinforcement tools most appropriate to teach that lesson, because they satisfy the most facets of justice.

            ...Unless you're incredibly rich, in which case those rules don't apply to you.

            Last edited 18/02/15 2:20 pm

              First off I should apologize for the delay in my response; finding a time during work where I can effectively debate is far and few between these days.

              Before looking to address any of your arguments I should state that mine originates from what I constitute Justice to be; i.e. a term, one that people like to bend based on their opinion and experiences but at the end of the day it should and needs to be an objective term. Regardless of our individual definitions of terrible and merciless they have no bearing on what justice is. Even in their tamest definitions those words represent an aspect of animal if not human instinct, most frequently to correct a perceived wrong.

              As you continue on you list the facets of Justice as you claim them to be; however what you describe are the facets of law. While they may have one time been steeped in what Justice is; they no longer represent even a fraction of the term. If they did we wouldn't have a legal system which protects the strong and condemns the weak which in our day and age refers to the degree of wealth you possess as you yourself have pointed out.

              Justice is not an ideal which bends to each person emotional reaction to a crime or a situation, it is an ideal which has its roots in a fixed term, something most people are happy to discount as they like to rationalize how/why they feel someone deserves punishment. However the moment you let yourself feel in regards to a crime you've already corrupted what justice stands for.

              As I see it in this situation we have a mentally disturbed if at the very least bored individual early on in their life who obtained access to information and techniques on how to perpetrate a potentially dangerous crime. If your solution of justice is to incarcerate bored teenagers who have access to or are interested in criminal actions as a means to alleviate their boredom... well trans I can tell you there's going to a much larger demographic you'll be looking to carry out "terrible and merciless vengeance" on. Your reaction to this article as I see it has been emotional in nature; as has most others who have read and commented on it. While it's easy to remember the victims in this situation; justice also has to remember the perpetrators.

              Even though you have eloquently defended the incarceration of these individuals; I have yet to see you answer the question; what is the price we pay as a society if we meted out your so called "justice" to bored and disturbed teenagers? Say what you will but I cannot move on from the fact that this is a teenager carrying out these crimes; and I'm sure in most cases they are young and stupid and lack any valid direction in life (something I'm sure a lot us were guilty of).

              This is a failing on a societal level, not just an individual one. I agree as the person carrying out these actions they are closest in proximity to receive justice; however the question that needs answering is what is the best form serving justice? And are these actions being carried out signs of a failing of the individual or signs of failing by the parents or those in his closest proximity who should be providing them with direction?

              Edit: People often have a knee jerk reaction to treating the symptoms of societal failings which almost always manifests in criminal activity; however we rarely look to see if there is an underlying disease.

              Last edited 23/02/15 3:01 pm

    That was all very uncomfortable to read!

    Holy crap whoever this person was in real life should probably seek counseling or something like that. Sure he's admitted that what he was doing was wrong but he still seems to have serious issues for someone who is 16.

      It does seem like all he's done is swap feeling superior by pulling these scams with feeling superior by looking down on his former peers. I'm guessing it's only a matter of time before the buzz of this feeling like some deep and meaningful change in his life wears off and he's left finding a new way to feel special.

      Yeah.. I mean look, I was 16 once some time ago, and did stupid shit like steal letterboxes for a brief period. It seemed fun at the time, but after doing it a few times I thought wow this is stupid and how inconvenient for the people who now have no letterbox.
      So I guess from some perspective I can see how he would think this was ok... BUT he has no insight or empathy for other peoples lives obviously. Comes across like a spoiled upper/upper middle class brat, and yeah you might not care if you get swatted (although his door wasn't kicked in so you know... probably not to the same extent as the people he swatted/assisted be swatted)
      But to say that parents who get swatted in the middle of the night and taken outside of their house and cuffed while their 3 small children are scared an inside can just laugh it off is delusional... you would be on edge for a LONG time after that happened, once his teenage invincibility wears off he might realise this...
      But the comment about "haha your dog is dead I'm such a troll" indicates - as above - there may be deeper issues.. he seems more interested in self preservation (ie. making sure he can still go to college, so he can get a high paid job) than the consequences to other people from his actions.

    Dickheads like this is why I'm moving towards being against internet anonymity. Fine with free speech, but the nonchalant attitude this moron has towards the consequences to the victim and their life (and I am 100% sure someone will die during one of these) show that there is not enough accountability in society these days.

      I'm pretty annoyed with him calling people a Pussy for being scared of angry men barging into their home with guns and yelling at them. I kind of suspect that what a SWAT team would do if they thought hostages were in danger.

      And especially for the comments such as making a video for youtube or streaming means you should expect to be swatted constantly.

      Swatting should be considered assault, it should come with the appropriate charges and a financial responsibility to make things right, starting with compensation for the SWAT teams time, the victims damages. Victims should be given therapy at the expense of the guy who swatted them, if only for the purposes of giving him a larger bill.

      But all this hinges on them getting caught.

      At the end of the day the guy sounds like he was a massive arsehole, and is still a massive arsehole.

    Goes to show, once again, that the most vulnerable security risk of any information is not digital storage or lazy passwords - it's the people on the other end of a customer service line.

    Interesting piece, informative and (sadly) quite relevant. However this guy, and all like him need 3 months in lockup and a fine roughly equivalent to the amount of money wasted in sending a response team out with not legal maneuvering/appeals etc.
    Also
    be 16 years old, his descent into the Internet underground began when he was 14 years old
    http://i3.kym-cdn.com/photos/images/newsfeed/000/740/049/2c2.jpg
    Petulant little shit.

      Three months? More like a few years.

      People have died answering the door to beat cops.
      A highly-charged threat about killing cops made, responded to by a heavily-armed men on hair-triggers, where one completely-reasonable-in-any-other-situation move can be fatal?

      These people are committing 'attempted murder by cop'. There is NO excuse.

        Don't get me wrong. I'm all for harsher punishment but that would be dependent on the situation. What I am suggesting is that "you swatted someone, we are locking you up and you will pay us $5000 dollars, no exceptions" additional time and money starts at that point.

    TL; DR, but I'm sure he's a dickhead. There's absolutely no excuse for swatting.

      I did read it, Dickhead is probably not strong enough.

    On a side note, social engineering will always be an important part of security and prevention.

    I feel like the only person who gives a damn when people enter my workplace without a security card. I probably seem like a dick for stopping people.

      Same here, "when does so and so work next?" nope, none of your business unless they are a family member and I know they are a family member. "Can I have this person's phone number?" nope. I can call them and give them your number if you like?

      Heh. I had that a little while ago. Went up to a floor I don't usually visit (but still have keycard access to) to grab their trolley for carting some shit around for our internal move. I got shadowed by some guy who stood in the foyer pretending to catch a lift with me, asking casually what I was doing here, if I work for the department, which floor I work on, getting good look at the ID card on the lanyard around my neck… Lift came and I took it, but instead of joining me he smiled tightly and went back inside.

      I come back to return the trolley, and within about half a minute, the director (who used to be my boss) opens the door to the floor's foyer, looking around, then sighs with relief and laughs. "Oh, it's you! Hi. People were trying to figure out who the 'shady character with possibly fake ID' was."

      Commendable security practices but come on, I've been working here for years, I've qualified for fucking long service leave, moved into the building the same time they did years ago, and had a plainly-visible ID card and security door access… how paranoid do you have to be? This is what I get for visiting the Very Important Peoples' floor. They obviously mustn't pay attention to the 'little people'.

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