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Swatting Threats Use Smart Devices

January 19, 2021

Sending false alarms has been a problem since telephones came into wide use. "Swatting" - calling police or first responders to a residence for a false emergency - also goes back many years. The FBI first warned of it in 2008. Recently the problem has escalated as hackers use smart home devices to make hoax calls and live stream the response.

The problem is weak security in these devices. FBI officials are working with technology vendors to address the issue. One solution would be to require authentification in addition to or replacing passwords. The FBI is also alerting law enforcement to the problem.

Swatting is not a joke; it's a criminal offense punishable by prison time, and can lead to injury or death of innocent people. Since fake calls are not easy to detect, better security is the answer.