Feeds

Canuck cops cuff teen suspect in swatter-for-hire case

No mounties involved

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

A 16-year-old Canadian teen has been arrested for allegedly placing up to 30 fraudulent "swatting" emergency calls that sent armed cops to would-be hostage and bomb threats at schools across North America.

The teen is suspected of placing some of the calls as part of a swatting-for-hire business. Police say they were were sent on dangerous and expensive callouts to what they suspect to be nominated victims of a "swatting business'" customers.

The term "swatting" refers to successfully summoning the police's Special Weapons And Tactics Team (SWAT) teams under false pretext. A successful swatting episode is estimated to cost $10,000. Swatters often make use of caller ID spoofing and emergency service numbers designed for deaf users.

Ottawa Police arrested the teen on May 8 after he placed calls to police claiming schools across the country were under threat from a shooter, bombs and hostage-takers.

Police seized "data transmission devices" along with guns and ammunition.


The FBI, which collaborated on the investigation, said swatting caused significant distress and physical injury to police.

"The suspect has been linked to threats received by schools in multiple American cities that prompted responses by law enforcement ... the nature of the false threats received by the schools varied," the agency claimed.

Security blogger Brian Krebs named a suspect and pointed to a Twitter profile dated back to November last year that included more than 100 references to swatting and offers to phone-in attacks for a price.

The last tweet on the account claimed the account-holder, who claimed to be the "hacker" was "still awaiting for the horsies to bash down my door".

Swatting was a popular harassment tool and has been used against celebrities including Justin Bieber, Aston Kutcher and Tom Cruise.

Many perpetrators, which Krebs said tended to be males of minor age, have been arrested receiving at times lengthy gaol sentences.

In October, a US man was sentenced to 30 months for phoning in a series of swatting calls to targets across the US.

Perhaps the most infamous swatter was Matthew Weigman, a legally blind hacker who was serving an 11-year sentence issued in June 2009. He made some 60 swatting calls prior to his indictment and had harrassed Verizon employees and investigators who were building evidence against him. ®

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
FYI: OS X Yosemite's Spotlight tells Apple EVERYTHING you're looking for
It's on by default – didn't you read the small print?
Russian hackers exploit 'Sandworm' bug 'to spy on NATO, EU PCs'
Fix imminent from Microsoft for Vista, Server 2008, other stuff
Edward who? GCHQ boss dodges Snowden topic during last speech
UK spies would rather 'walk' than do 'mass surveillance'
Microsoft pulls another dodgy patch
Redmond makes a hash of hashing add-on
NOT OK GOOGLE: Android images can conceal code
It's been fixed, but hordes won't have applied the upgrade
'LulzSec leader Aush0k' found to be naughty boy not worthy of jail
15 months home detention leaves egg on feds' faces as they grab for more power
China is ALREADY spying on Apple iCloud users, claims watchdog
Attack harvests users' info at iPhone 6 launch
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
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.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.