30 August 2014

"Swatting" explained

Militarized local SWAT teams can be tricked by hackers into raiding homes of innocent people.  The Vice video above illustrates the problem, which is also discussed at Salon:
“The caller claimed to have shot two co-workers, held others hostage, and threatened to shoot them,” the Littleton Police Department said in a statement. “He stated that if the officers entered he would shoot them as well.”

What the cameras captured is a perilous new prank known as “swatting,” or making a false report to get the SWAT team to invade a rival gamer’s space. As evidenced by the Vice News report below, this can involve disguising the caller identity and making some potentially life-threatening claims.


  1. While 'SWATting' is a real thing it seems like public knowledge of it might begin to ascribe such intentions to police calls of genuine concern.
    I got into an argument the other day with a fellow who wanted to claim that the man, John Crawford, who was shot in a Wal Mart while in possession of a pellet gun (which was designed to resemble and assault rifle) was an obvious example of 'SWATting'... because he perceived the folks who called the police as having malicious intent.
    To me it doesn't qualify because the caller did identify himself and even went on camera with a news crew afterward. The caller's judgement may have been clouded by some degree of racism (how can we know?) but there does at least seem like some plausibility that he actually thought the man had a real weapon and was behaving inappropriately with it.

  2. Lord knows SWAT teams can be prone to lethal and near lethal blunders when left to their own devices...


  3. Here's a recent example of a guy playing a game and livestreaming when he got swatted. He even correctly guessed he was getting swatted when he heard the police start clearing rooms nearby.


    1. That's the case discussed at the Salon link.


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