PSA from the FBI

Facebook Wants to ‘Normalize’ the Mass Scraping of Personal Data

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is issuing this announcement to warn users of smart home devices with cameras and voice capabilities to use complex, unique passwords and enable two-factor authentication to help protect against “swatting” attacks. Smart home device manufacturers recently notified law enforcement that offenders have been using stolen e-mail passwords to access smart devices with cameras and voice capabilities and carry out swatting attacks.

What is Swatting?

Swatting is a term used to describe a hoax call made to emergency services, typically reporting an immediate threat to human life, to draw a response from law enforcement and the S.W.A.T. team to a specific location. Confusion on the part of homeowners or responding officers has resulted in health-related or violent consequences and pulls limited resources away from valid emergencies.

Swatting may be motivated by revenge, used as a form of harassment, or used as a prank, but it is a serious crime that may have potentially deadly consequences.

Offenders often use spoofing technology to anonymize their own phone numbers to make it appear to first responders as if the emergency call is coming from the victim’s phone number. This enhances their credibility when communicating with dispatchers.

How is this version of Swatting carried out?

Recently, offenders have been using victims’ smart devices, including video and audio capable home surveillance devices, to carry out swatting attacks. To gain access to the smart devices, offenders are likely taking advantage of customers who re-use their email passwords for their smart device. The offenders use stolen email passwords to log into the smart device and hijack features, including the live-stream camera and device speakers…

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