The World Has No Room For Cowards


The World Has No Room For Cowards
Brian Krebs
Friday, March 15th, 2013 at 3:15 pm

It’s not often that one has the opportunity to be the target of a cyber and kinetic attack at the same time. But that is exactly what’s happened to me and my Web site over the past 24 hours. On Thursday afternoon, my site was the target of a fairly massive denial of service attack. That attack was punctuated by a visit from a heavily armed local police unit that was tricked into responding to a 911 call spoofed to look like it came from my home.

Things began to get interesting early Thursday afternoon, when a technician from Prolexic, a company which protects Web sites (including from denial-of-service attacks, forwarded a strange letter they’d received earlier in the day that appeared to have been sent from the FBI. The letter, a copy of which is reprinted in its entirety here, falsely stated that my site was hosting illegal content, profiting from cybercriminal activity, and that it should be shut down. Prolexic considered it a hoax, but forwarded it anyway. I similarly had no doubt it was a fake, and a short phone call to the FBI confirmed that fact.

Around the same time, my site came under a series of denial-of-service attacks, briefly knocking it offline. While Prolexic technicians worked to filter the attack traffic, I got busy tidying up the house (since we were expecting company for dinner). I heard the phone ring up in the office while I was downstairs vacuuming the living room and made a mental note to check my voicemail later. Vacuuming the rug near the front door, I noticed that some clear plastic tape I’d used to secure an extension cord for some outdoor lights was still straddling the threshold of the front door.

When I opened the door to peel the rest of the tape off, I heard someone yell, “Don’t move! Put your hands in the air.” Glancing up from my squat, I saw a Fairfax County Police officer leaning over the trunk of a squad car, both arms extended and pointing a handgun at me. As I very slowly turned my head to the left, I observed about a half-dozen other squad cars …

Hacker culture seems to be quickly developing a very nasty and growing corner: people using their skills to commit potentially deadly assaults-by-proxy on people they have decided to hate. Obviously the hacker community cannot stop these vicious twits, but there are things I think could conceivably be done: discourage, by condemning suggestions/threats of SWATting; report plausible threats to authorities; report boasts of SWATtings where enough info is given to recognize and actual, specific, SWATting; discourage, by condemning and withholding approval of SWATtings (mess with their need for peer approval).


Security Journalist Is SWATted

Krebs wants the feds working on this:

[quote]The local police departments of the United States are ill-equipped to do much to stop these sorts of attacks. I would like to see federal recognition of a task force or some kind of concerted response to these potentially deadly pranks. Hopefully, authorities can drive the message home that perpetrating these hoaxes on another will bring severe penalties. Who knows: Perhaps some of the data uncovered in this blog post and in future posts here will result in the legal SWATing of those responsible.

My advice, Mr. Krebs: don’t put too much stock in the feds, unless you’re in Dallas, where they have a track record of solving such crimes. Here in California, I think I would have been better off with the locals, since Orange County Sheriffs have solved a similar crime, and so has LAPD, while the FBI doesn’t seem to care much about my case. I don’t know how things are in Virginia, but I am saying: don’t be too quick to assume the feds are always more knowledgeable and/or diligent.[/quote]
Patterico is speaking from the experience of having been SWATted, cooperating with local investigations, and (together with others who have been SWATted) requesting the FBI and “Justice” Department to assist with these potentially deadly crimes whose MOs include using communications in multiple states and even countries. The “Justice” Department, to date, has done little; most of the targets of SWATtings, to date, have been ConservaBloggers; draw your own conclusions as to the degree of relationship between the “Justice” Department inaction and the Conservatism of the SWATting targets.


From my meanderings on the internet, most of the cases of DDOSing and SWATting tend to stem from teenagers or younger kids. Its really big in the youtube gaming community. I am personally under the impression that stopping this from happening is as easy as finding who did it and break all of their fingers. Everyone that does it gets their fingers broken. Easy enough. Once the word gets out, people will stop if they value being able to use their hands for anything.

And no that isn’t being said toungue-in-cheek. People need to be punished period. No one is punished anymore and broken fingers kind of hits the hacking people where it hurts them the most.