back to article Canuck cops cuff teen suspect in swatter-for-hire case

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 …

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data transmission devices?

ATA, TDD? Why don't police ever say things directly?

Anyway, assuming they have the right guy, I'm glad they caught this idiot.

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Re: data transmission devices?

It was a box with blinking lights connected between his computer and a phone jack. They took his toaster too, just in case.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: data transmission devices?

Why don't police ever say things directly?

Because in any organisation meant to turn people against other people the first thing you want to do is instigate an "us" vs. "them" mentality and raise an artificial barrier to mark that line. A specialized jargon, spoken and understood only by those "in the know" is a wonderful tool that help you do that quite effectively. It's a sort of a generalized shibboleth, really...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: data transmission devices?

Yes the police and technology are not exactly best friends. Mind you I was curious as to how these false alarms put the police in danger, I don't think a false alarm about a bomb can actually explode.....

I can see how policemen and women who've been fed a lot of hype about terrorists might shoot someone innocent but that would represent a danger to civilians, not the police.

I also like the part in the article which says:

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

..not all bad then!

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Re: data transmission devices?

"Yes the police and technology are not exactly best friends. Mind you I was curious as to how these false alarms put the police in danger, I don't think a false alarm about a bomb can actually explode....."

I'd imagine the thinking is that as there are only a fixed number of SWAT or bomb disposal units, ones sent to false callouts aren't available to cover real ones, meaning the officers there will be at risk.

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Re: data transmission devices?

There is also the very real threat of friendly fire which seems to be increasing. I don't know if it is lack of training, discipline or too many being just trigger happy.

"The FBI... said swatting caused significant distress and physical injury to police."

Just imagine how the victims and neighbors feel. You remember them, they were the ones awoken by the sounds of battering rams and flash-bangs. Oh right, they're just perps who haven't been convicted yet.

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Re: data transmission devices?

There are a lot of injuries to police office while responding to calls. Apparently going 70 miles an hour on a tight bend isn't the safest activity...

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Pint

Re: data transmission devices?

"...curious as to how these false alarms put the police in danger..."

There may be the odd residence (hopefully rare) where the occupants are already on-edge and armed to the teeth (like just after the 7pm local news). The police SWAT team fails to call ahead, or simply knock on the door, so they knock down the door, and then barge into what instantly becomes a very dangerous situation. Gun fight breaks out, people get shot. Terrible.

Implementing a general policy of slowing down a bit, maybe calling the residence in question, might well do far more good than harm.

Technology solution: rather than relying just on (obviously unreliable) Caller ID, do a very quick check (via the Telco) of the purported phone number in question to see (simple Yes/No) if that actual telephone *line* has made a 911 call in the last few minutes. This is self-evidently a very simple technical solution and could be implemented semi-automatically. The 911 Operator might even have a blinking light labeled "Fake Caller ID", although it might need a few seconds to turn on. This concept hereby placed into the Public Domain for the Great Good.

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Coat

Underage twatter swatter mounted

Yeah ... I know ... I'll get my coat

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There are some monumentally stupid people in this world. I refer of course to the perpetrator.

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Matilda

"That Night a Fire did break out-

You should have heard Matilda Shout!

You should have heard her Scream and Bawl,

And throw the window up and call

To People passing in the Street-

(The rapidly increasing Heat

Encouraging her to obtain

Their confidence)-but it was all in vain!

For every time She shouted "Fire!"

They only answered "Little Liar!"

And therefore when her Aunt returned,

Matilda, and the House, were burned."

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How do the police harm themselves responding to a call? Shirley they should do that when they get on site?

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High speeds on a city road. Police office aren't professional stunt drivers and not much less likely to get into a wreck.

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Childcatcher

High speeds on a city road....

...indicate poor training or ignoring good training. It's difficult to do much good in an emergency situation if you are created one on the way there.

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how these false alarms put the police in danger

Please complete an composite risk assessment involving the use of life fire rounds and the civilian population especially in regard to misinterpretation of events on both side.Include actual event scenarios,medial records showing the repercussions of increased stress levels on officers and induced events based on assumed knowledge i.e.blue on blue events and deaths caused by accidental live fire.

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Anonymous Coward

How can the police be so stupid?

For crying out loud, why do the police's systems show them the CLI data rather than the ANI? You can spoof your number all you like, but the telcos are damn careful to make sure the right person gets billed, so why don't the pigs get the same info?

I'm not normally blindly in favour of giving extra information-gathering powers to the authorities, but this one is a no-brainer. (As are the police, in case anyone doesn't get that the question posed in the title basically answers itself.)

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Re: How can the police be so stupid?

Im sure its covered somewhere under the data protection act or whatever vestige of privacy the Americans have left in their shrinking constitutional rights.I guess unless you have a three letter agency such detail is classed out of bounds because of possible misuse.

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Happy

Re: How can the police be so stupid?

Blueboxes are great for anonymity.

Captain Crunch led the way in showing Telcos what you can do with 2600 Hz and disconnecting segments of calls, then redialling. Great fun.

Even with the latest switches, Blueboxes work - the only catch is you need to be careful where you make your initial call from.

Then there are the IP telephone switches which all manner of vulnerabilities - also great for losing any traces.

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Swatting causes extreme distress and injury to police

Said Lieutenant Bzzzz, a senior fly working with the police department.

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$10,000?

"A successful swatting episode is estimated to cost $10,000."

How much? Unless they are going in guns blazing and ramping up the "cost" by burning bullets, breaking down doors etc., surely the only real cost incurred is the price of the petrol used in the vehicles. The wages are being paid whether they are on a call or sitting on their backsides eating doughnuts.

Do they get paid extra when on a call out?

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Re: $10,000?

It's like the fire service and call-outs to places like this University. We don't get charged for real fires, but we do get charged for false alarms when contractors set of alarms of people smoke in the toilets (we get a couple of free call-outs, then charged). The argument is that service is staffed and funded to provide (X) responses per year. It doesn't matter that (n) are fake; they require staff and resources and hence can be assigned a cost. If there we no false alarms, we'd need fewer fire engines & fire men so the service would be cheaper - the fake calls use real money.

For the SWAT guys I strongly suspect there's a desk load of paperwork after the event and conceivably damages to those SWATted or to people who can't get home through a roadblock. It all takes resource away from the job in hand.

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Bah!.

I'll restrain my glee until after this little alleged sociopath has been found guilty.

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