FBI Reports Pranksters are hijacking smart devices to live-stream swatting incidents
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has released a public service announcement detailing a new threat to safety. The agency claims that pranksters are hacking smart devices with low cybersecurity protections to live-stream swatting incidents for public enjoyment. Offenders have been taking over victims’ smart devices as well as video and audio home surveillance devices to conduct swatting attacks. A swatting attack is when an individual knowingly reports a false serious crime, such as murder, against another individual who then has SWAT forces arrive at their residence.
Swatting is not only illegal, but it endangers the livelihood of the innocent recipient, and in some cases, their families. The pranksters have been utilizing previously leaked credentials to break into devices in which the credentials are re-used. When law enforcement arrives, the offender is able to watch or broadcast the live stream footage and engages with the police through hijacked audio and visual capabilities. Swatting has increased across the US over the past few years and has resulted in deaths through accidental shootings.