FBI Warns Users Of Swatting Attacks By Hacking Smart Devices

While swatting is already a problem, it’ll possibly become more terrible, warns the FBI. Through a recent advisory, the FBI warns all users to protect their smart devices as pranksters can carry out swatting attacks.

FBI Alerts About Swatting Attacks

In a recent security alert, the FBI has warned all users of swatting attacks that pranksters may even stream live. For this purpose, the pranksters can hijack vulnerable smart devices, such as smart cameras.

For those who don’t know yet, swatting is a term referring to prank calls made to emergency services reporting false threats at certain target locations. Through this, the prankster aims to threaten a victim via a direct SWAT response. Such random and confusing confrontation between the victim and law enforcement may even result in serious situations such as accidental killings.

While pranksters execute swatting out of revenge or as a prank, it’s a criminal offense.

Nonetheless, such attacks still go on. And recently, the FBI has warned that the pranksters may even choose to live stream swatting by hijacking vulnerable smart devices. As stated,

Recently, offenders have been using victims’ smart devices, including video and audio capable home surveillance devices, to carry out swatting attacks…

Besides live streaming, the offenders have also engaged with the SWAT response team via the hijacked cameras and speakers.

Regarding how they manage to hack devices, the alert reads,

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.

Recommended Mitigations

While the recent wave of swatting attacks is in the wild, the FBI has suggested some measures to mitigate these attacks.

  • Setting up complex and unique passwords.
  • Updating the passwords regularly.
  • Implementing 2FA wherever possible, preferably, with a mobile number instead of a secondary email.

The users having smart cameras, smart speakers, and other smart devices at home can protect themselves by implementing these measures.

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