Feeds

Xbox Live patrols hit by ugly SWAT attacks

Spoofed emergency texts draw armed cops

Build a business case: developing custom apps

Hackers trying to cheat the Xbox Live game network have stooped to a new low: sending hoax emergency distress calls to police with the goal of drawing an armed response to the homes of Microsoft employees.

According to The Sammamish Patch news service, Eric Neustadter, operations manager for Xbox Live, was the latest Xbox enforcer to receive an emergency response from armed police. The report, and a follow-up article in The Seattle Post-Intelligencer said similar SWAT attacks have hit other Microsoft employees as well.

The latest incident happened in the early hours of August 29, when someone calling himself “eric” sent a text message to an emergency service for AT&T cellphone subscribers.

“2 armed Russian males broke in and they shot my son,” it claimed. “They have claymores outside... my door is barricaded...pls hurry!”

Another message soon followed: “They are coming upstairs...pls hurry.”

When an AT&T dispatcher responded by asking Eric for a phone number, he said his phone lines had been cut.

As deputies with the King County Sheriff Department took up positions outside Neustadter's home a little after 4 a.m., a police operator finally managed to reach Neustadter on the phone.

He said everyone in his home was safe and that the emergency reports were a hoax, the websites reported. He went on to explain that his job responsibilities include shutting down Xbox Live players who cheat by exploiting vulnerabilities in the system, something that makes him unpopular with some hackers. He also said similar incidents have happened to “numerous other Microsoft employees in the past.”

Over the past few years such SWAT attacks – so called because their aim is to evoke responses from heavily armed Special Weapons And Tactics police squads – have become all the rage with some disgruntled hackers looking for an easy way to avenge perceived slights. The exploits require little skill on the part of the anonymous attackers, but they sure get the attention of their victims. ®

The essential guide to IT transformation

More from The Register

next story
Rupert Murdoch says Google is worse than the NSA
Mr Burns vs. The Chocolate Factory, round three!
e-Borders fiasco: Brits stung for £224m after US IT giant sues UK govt
Defeat to Raytheon branded 'catastrophic result'
Germany 'accidentally' snooped on John Kerry and Hillary Clinton
Dragnet surveillance picks up EVERYTHING, USA, m'kay?
Snowden on NSA's MonsterMind TERROR: It may trigger cyberwar
Plus: Syria's internet going down? That was a US cock-up
Who needs hackers? 'Password1' opens a third of all biz doors
GPU-powered pen test yields more bad news about defences and passwords
Think crypto hides you from spooks on Facebook? THINK AGAIN
Traffic fingerprints reveal all, say boffins
Microsoft cries UNINSTALL in the wake of Blue Screens of Death™
Cache crash causes contained choloric calamity
prev story

Whitepapers

Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Solving today's distributed Big Data backup challenges
Enable IT efficiency and allow a firm to access and reuse corporate information for competitive advantage, ultimately changing business outcomes.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.