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Brian Krebs Gets SWATted

timothy posted about a year and a half ago | from the how-some-people-sleep-at-night dept.

Crime 240

RedLeg writes "ArsTechnica reports that Brian Krebs, of KrebsOnSecurity.com, formerly of the Washington Post, recently got SWATted. For those not familiar with the term, SWATting is the practice of spoofing a call to emergency responders (911 in the U.S.) to induce an overwhelming and potentially devastating response from law enforcement and/or other first responders to the home or residence of the victim. Brian's first-person account of the incident and what he believes to be related events are chronicled here. Krebs has been prominent in the takedown of several cyber-criminal groups in the past, and has been subject to retaliation. I guess this time he poked the wrong bear."

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Danger. (5, Insightful)

Seumas (6865) | about a year and a half ago | (#43187255)

This wouldn't be nearly as dangerous if we didn't live in a society where a significant portion of our law-enforcement feel like above-the-law gung-ho cowboys looking to shoot now and ask questions later that respond to "large black ex-military man in a green truck" by shooting asian women in a blue van. Cops are trained to approach every incident as a potentially dangerous or life-threatening one and it's pretty much to the point where citizens need to treat every encounter with the police as a potentially deadly one.

Re:Danger. (5, Interesting)

James-NSC (1414763) | about a year and a half ago | (#43187287)

Thankfully Brian had already contacted his local PD and advised them that this was a distinct possibility so they were prepared for the possibility that it was a hoax when they arrived.

That and Brian is white, so that helps...

Re:Danger. (5, Informative)

Maow (620678) | about a year and a half ago | (#43187391)

Thankfully Brian had already contacted his local PD and advised them that this was a distinct possibility so they were prepared for the possibility that it was a hoax when they arrived.

That and Brian is white, so that helps...

Furthermore, the police called him before he came out his front door and was confronted by armed police.

However, as he was vacuuming and preparing for a dinner party, he didn't answer the phone but made a mental note to check his voice mail.

The police had to respond and it did seem to end rather quickly. Had he answered the phone things would have gone down at least slightly differently. The police would've had to still check the situation out but perhaps it would've been easier on him.

So, a big "Thank You" to Brian Krebs for his on-going work on computer security issues and a big "fuck you" to whomever called 911 with his phone number faked as the calling number.

Re:Danger. (5, Insightful)

girlintraining (1395911) | about a year and a half ago | (#43187755)

and a big "fuck you" to whomever called 911 with his phone number faked as the calling number.

Of course, this begs the question of why our emergency services and others who's lives depend on the accuracy of this information, do not have the capability to authenticate whether a phone call actually originated from a specific phone, and what its location is. Land lines, cell phones, all of these are required by FCC laws passed over a decade ago now to be accurate enough to tell which side of the road your crashed car is on.

If our infrastructure is so easily compromised by pranksters, then what the hell did we spend all those billions of dollars in "Homeland security" for? I don't know about you but if I get a phone call that says "HOLY FUCK THEY HAVE A DIRTY BOMB IN THE BASEMENT!" ... I wanna know which basement, and who's on the other end of that call, pretty fucking quick and unambiguously.

In other news... If this information isn't completely reliable, then why are we kicking down doors and murdering innocent people in their own homes? "Hello? Why yes, I'd like to order a Murder with cheese please. Yes, with extra SWAT."

Re:Danger. (4, Insightful)

Immerman (2627577) | about a year and a half ago | (#43188517)

Seems like a non-issue to me. Much like email it's relatively easy to spoof the origin of a communication you originate; however, while that can be used for harassment purposes such as in this (potentially to much worse effect - I doubt things would have gone nearly so smoothly had the victim lived in a bad part of town) it doesn't really compromise the integrity of legitimate identification - your phone will still identify itself properly. Interfering with that is likely considerably more difficult.

As for the billions spent in Homeland Security, you don't actually think that ever had anything to do with actual security do you? Once they reinforced and locked the aircraft cockpit doors pretty much everything else was power grabs, cronyism, and wasteful, incompetent security theater - because no politician want to be the one that does nothing in the face of an attack just because of a trifling little detail like there's nothing meaningful that can actually be done.

Re:Danger. (2, Informative)

tsotha (720379) | about a year and a half ago | (#43187403)

That and Brian is white, so that helps...

Not much actual evidence this is the case.

Re:Danger. (3, Insightful)

Seumas (6865) | about a year and a half ago | (#43187831)

Actually, there's a pretty hefty amount of evidence that Brian Krebs is white.

Or do you mean that it helped?

I agree that the person who made that statement is doing so with no foundation in this specific incident, but I do think it's reasonable for someone to make that statement in a broader sense, since there have been plenty of incidents where police over-reacted to unarmed black persons with one or a few dozen bullets (just google "police shoot/kill unarmed black man").

Re:Danger. (0)

tsotha (720379) | about a year and a half ago | (#43188069)

"Plenty of incidents" isn't evidence.

Re:Danger. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43188121)

Do some research and you'll find the rest. This is just getting you started.

Re:Danger. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43188389)

Please, enlighten us. Give us just one measly source for this research. What you don't have any? No shit. Because you don't have a clue.

Re:Danger. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43188363)

I don't know about you, but being white means exactly dick. How are the cops supposed to know you aren't some Wacoesque Apocolyptic christian, a member of an IRA cell that went deep cover, a card carrying member of the Aryan Brotherhood, A tweaked out Meth chemist, Or just your average Trailer park style criminal?

I know calling race card is popular on the internet, But any leo but Sherriff Bodidly from 1950s Alabama should assume that everybody is a threat.

Re:Danger. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43188509)

But any leo but Sherriff Bodidly from 1950s Alabama should assume that everybody is a threat.

Except it doesn't work that way. The reality is they're not robots and 25yr old black males get shot reaching for their drivers license while 80 year old white women don't get shot rummaging through their purse. The statistical evidence doesn't prove any particular case but it is compelling in the aggragate.

In France ... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43188563)

I don't know about you, but being white means exactly dick.

... if you are a white, you must be a pussy

Re:Danger. (2)

gd2shoe (747932) | about a year and a half ago | (#43188627)

You've overlooked something important.

There are more incidents of Cops shooting unarmed black men... but these shootings are also much, MUCH more likely to be reported on, and passed around by word of mouth.

For instance: This story didn't have anyone getting shot, much less a black person. Yet, the idea of black people getting shot still made it into the thread.

THAT makes a real statement about the over-sensitivity of race on the issue.

Re:Danger. (1)

ntropia (939502) | about a year and a half ago | (#43188743)

Not sure about the "anecdotal" excuse.
It doesn't mean (necessarily) a preference over shooting darker skin tones, but at least they seem to spend much, much more time looking at them [tumblr.com] , at least in NY.
I mean, even accounting for some +/-% of uncertainty, 87% is a freaking big chunk.

Re:Danger. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43187619)

Thankfully? Brian shouldn't have to contact his local PD to warn them about false reports in order to not have his home invaded by armed men.

Re:Danger. (3, Interesting)

Seumas (6865) | about a year and a half ago | (#43187825)

Which was one of the most curios parts of the story, because I would expect said warning to be blown off as paranoia and forgotten when it came time to respond. This whole thing could have ended very badly. Even with the most level-headed and respectable cops.

I once called the police, because I had moved into a new home and woke up in the middle of the night to what sounded like someone coming in through a window. I didn't realize the weather had changed and it was windy and noisy up-stairs. While the cops were on their way, I grabbed a bat and went to checkout the whole house. When the cops arrived, they were pretty insistent that I drop that bat immediately (for obvious reasons - I could have been the intruder and be coming back with a bloody bat from bashing the owner's head in, for all they knew).

Of course, I am white, also. So they afforded me the time to react before taking any measures we'd both regret. Or . . . mostly I would regret. :D

Re:Danger. (1)

Mashiki (184564) | about a year and a half ago | (#43188039)

Thankfully Brian had already contacted his local PD and advised them that this was a distinct possibility so they were prepared for the possibility that it was a hoax when they arrived.

Odd that this has been going on for awhile and to a variety of people like DA's, and members of law enforcement too. And while it hasn't made a blip on /. before this it's suddenly news. Well here's something useful, back last yearish a variety of people called on the DOJ/Obama admin to get their heads out of their ass on this. Apparently though they don't think this is a 'serious enough of a threat.'

Re:Danger. (4, Insightful)

SwedishPenguin (1035756) | about a year and a half ago | (#43187309)

Very true. The UK and Norway have the right idea, firearms should only be present only when the situation specifically calls for it. In Norway the firearms stay locked in the car and approval from a superior officer for them to be used, this seems like a good approach to me, at least in countries not inundated in gun violence.

Re:Danger. (5, Insightful)

ohnocitizen (1951674) | about a year and a half ago | (#43187365)

Depending on the nature of the fake threat, reasonable people might assume the situation specifically does call for firearms. It becomes a question of when - if ever - the police can tell the difference between an imminent threat and a prank.

Re:Danger. (5, Interesting)

SwedishPenguin (1035756) | about a year and a half ago | (#43187433)

I was mainly suggesting a way around the "shoot first, ask questions later" mentality. If cops are not allowed to use guns in their day-to-day activity, the force likely does not attract gun-nuts and the like. 99.99% of the time, there's no need for the police to be carrying guns around. Again, this may not work in countries like the US, but in most of the western world I believe it would.

Re:Danger. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43188381)

Still wouldn't work though, as gun nuts will get their jollies from other weapons. In goes to a fundemental need to feel as dangerous as possible, to protect oneself and their loved ones.

I personally think anybody who think that the cops will keep them safe or the law is useful as a deterent is a fool.

Re:Danger. (2)

misexistentialist (1537887) | about a year and a half ago | (#43188441)

What do they do when someone pulls a knife? Tries to run them over? Sics a dog on them? Do they train to run away really fast, or do they rely on the criminals to take pity on their helplessness?

Re:Danger. (2)

kylemonger (686302) | about a year and a half ago | (#43188671)

The problem is this: Prank or not, Krebs opened his front door and suddenly had multiple guns pointed at him. Add in a sudden loud noise and at least one of the cops might have opened up on him. And once one cop starts firing, they ALL open up. I want to see more investigation before guns are even pointed at people.

Re:Danger. (1)

X0563511 (793323) | about a year and a half ago | (#43187389)

They are. Rather, the "real" firearms are. That's why this particular hoax involves a SWAT team - Special Weapons and Tactics. These are the guys wearing the heavy body armor, carrying automatics and the like. I'm sure you have something equivalent. You can be sure they don't get dispatched without cause, because they break down doors, carry flashbangs and the like.

Totally different beast than an officer checking things out.

Re:Danger. (1)

TaoPhoenix (980487) | about a year and a half ago | (#43187445)

And "Danger" is right. This is basically the top of the line for evil. How can a police dept ever know what to do if there's the specter this was cry-wolf? And ... Brian Krebs?! I know he annoyed the underground, but he's just about in the best possible place to survive one of these attacks. How about instead some more naive social rights protester? They could make a mistake out of fear and the whole thing would go wrong.

And ... something that's bothering me ... 2013?! Really?! All the precedents for this weren't solved say around 2005? This is an "Evergreen threat", one that can continue to happen over and over forever. I don't know the meta-solution to it. What if one of these attacks happens around the country say once a week? What does that do to our conception of security?

Re:Danger. (2)

Seumas (6865) | about a year and a half ago | (#43187843)

You make an interesting point. Only one potential harm of this is an over-reaction resulting in a dead innocent citizen. The other potential harm is if this gets out of hand and SWAT at some point under-reacts due to so many hoaxes, leaving some slack for something to go truly wrong when it's the real thing. Of course, my understanding is that SWAT are the best of the best (at least as far as domestic cops go) and I imagine they'd approach the 500th hoax as just as real a situation as the first hoax.

Re:Danger. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43187423)

That's the thing with getting SWAT'ed (which is a lot more common than advertised) ... the description, and the hoaxers are very good, indicates that hte cops must come loaded for bear. "oh my god, they just shot someone. I htink they shot my wife." Fortunately, in major metropolitan areas, the cops have this figured out, which has had a significant affect of reducing the incidences of the SWAT teams shooting people. So, they now treat it like a drill and are a little more hesitant to fire, which is, in the scheme of things, a good thing.

Re:Danger. (1)

Vinegar Joe (998110) | about a year and a half ago | (#43187443)

Want to trade Oslo for Chicago?

Re:Danger. (3, Informative)

SwedishPenguin (1035756) | about a year and a half ago | (#43187475)

Like I said, in countries *not* inundated in gun violence.. London would be a more apt comparison to Chicago than Oslo though, and they manage without guns in their day-to-day work.

Re:Danger. (4, Interesting)

DaHat (247651) | about a year and a half ago | (#43187609)

To say that this country is "inundated in gun violence" is like saying Europe is inundated with Germans.

Yes... there are seemingly random occurrences distributed widelythroughout the region... but also massive concentrations in very specific areas are alas, very common... Chicago being one of those such places.

It is interesting when you look at the actual data of gun violence, the majority comes from a handful of areas and tend to involve pretty common aspects of those involved.

Re:Danger. (0, Troll)

rockout (1039072) | about a year and a half ago | (#43187653)

No, please, continue! Your whole post is practically one long dog-whistle, so why make anyone read between the lines? Have the courage of your convictions and tell us what you really think about why we've got so much gun violence. We're waiting with bated breath on your wisdom.

I'm sure you'll expand on your views, unless of course, you think those views aren't actually based on factual information. I'm willing to read on.

Re:Danger. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43187871)

Why do we have so much gun violence? We have a very violent culture. We also have a culture different than many other's where we don't tend to want to parent our own children.

It's illegal to own firearms in Chicago, so it should be a peaceful utopia (right)?

Also, that argument is an eternal straw-man. Gun violence does not equate 'violent crime'. So, in some countries with less guns you have less 'gun crimes', but that doesn't mean you have less 'violent crimes'. The problem is with the violence in our culture. Maybe next time you let your 6 year old play Call of Duty Black Ops for 5 hours while you wax your beamber, you should think twice about what YOU are doing to contribute to the problem.

Re:Danger. (5, Interesting)

im_thatoneguy (819432) | about a year and a half ago | (#43188261)

It's illegal to own firearms in Chicago, so it should be a peaceful utopia (right)?

If you can drive 5 minutes out of town, a ban is essentially symbolic. That being said, those states with more gun control laws generally have fewer deaths. Hawaii for instance has very little gun violence and has some of the most strict gun laws. Hawaii is an interesting case since import/export laws are actually relatively easy to enforce seeing as it has no landlocked neighbors.

Re:Danger. (2)

gd2shoe (747932) | about a year and a half ago | (#43188761)

Parents who can afford a BMW are rarely the problem (though it does happen). The parents who ARE the problem are the parents who hate their kids; totally ignore them; don't know what their grades are and don't care; smack them around a bit, but don't ever _really_ beat them; Don't know who their friends are, or where they go after school; set bad examples regarding alcohol or drug use; I could go on, and on.

The crux of the matter is, many parents don't parent their children. Some don't know how, and a great many just plain don't care. It's sad, and it's prevalent everywhere... but especially places with high crime.

Re:Danger. (2)

Ol Olsoc (1175323) | about a year and a half ago | (#43187567)

Very true. The UK and Norway have the right idea, firearms should only be present only when the situation specifically calls for it.

An even better idea would be to use a telephone system that wasn't so easy to hack. Our insane rush to put everything on the interWebZ only proves that the people running the show have no idea how it works.

Pretty simple to pose as someone else when you can do it form the comfort of your own computer

I wonder how they used to do it. I'm envisioning lines on poles. Nahhh that couldn't work.

Re:Danger. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43188535)

In Norway the firearms stay locked in the car and approval from a superior officer for them to be used, this seems like a good approach to me, at least in countries not inundated in gun violence.

I agree in principle, but keep in mind that Norway's rules also caused an hour-long delay in their response to Anders Behring Breivik's attacks, which allowed him to kill 77 people one by one before police could stop him. Granted, this was an extremely isolated incident, but when shit hits the fan like that, It' best to have a ton of guns ready to respond. The answer isn't necessarily in restrictions, it's in heavy, exacting training and in-depth psych screenings to make sure that a cop with a gun will respond correctly.

Re:Danger. (1)

erroneus (253617) | about a year and a half ago | (#43187327)

I don't know... if somehow they could have, in the 9-1-1 call, put out that a policeman has been killed or something like that, I'm not sure the possibility that it was a hoax would be enough to stop the shoot-first reaction. They tend to go pretty crazy when that happens.

Re:Danger. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43187341)

Yep, and then the police wonder why the fuck the citizens react to them like they're a bunch of crazy shits, and then they get even more belligerent themselves.

I'd feel safer with the criminals.

Re:Danger. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43187537)

Well, yeah. If a criminal kills you he gets a harsher sentence than 3 weeks on paid leave before everyone is assured "procedures were followed"

Re:Danger. (1, Insightful)

tsotha (720379) | about a year and a half ago | (#43187395)

This wouldn't be nearly as dangerous if we didn't live in a society where a significant portion of our law-enforcement feel like above-the-law gung-ho cowboys looking to shoot now and ask questions later...

That's a gross mischaracterization. There are hundreds of thousands of cops, and they face potentially dangerous situations every day, and bad shoots are rare.

Re:Danger. (4, Insightful)

Stormy Dragon (800799) | about a year and a half ago | (#43187607)

The overwhelming majority of cops are in no more danger on a given day than any other member of the public. The "we face life or death decisions every minute we're on patrol" bullshit is part of the military occupation mentality that's destroying police crediblity in this country.

And we have no idea how rare bad shoots are, as law enforcement groups routinely prevent any attempts to collect statistics on that subject.

Re:Danger. (4, Informative)

im_thatoneguy (819432) | about a year and a half ago | (#43188247)

To your point: you're far more likely to die as a commercial fisherman, roofer or electrician than a cop.

Re:Danger. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43188577)

This has to depend entirely on where you're a cop, and what job you're doing. Sure, a big mouth kid on a skateboard is probably the worst threat most of them deal with over their career, but some of them are rolling around Chicago with people taking pot shots at their cruisers.

Good thing guns are illegal there, though.

Re:Danger. (1)

murdocj (543661) | about a year and a half ago | (#43188361)

Really? You really think that being a cop is just as safe as, say, sitting behind a computer terminal? What planet do you live on?

Re:Danger. (1)

dadelbunts (1727498) | about a year and a half ago | (#43188383)

Depends where you live. There are some parts of Miami here where people shooting each other and hearing gunfire is the norm. The horrible, ,unjust, corrupt, unfair job police do is what is destroying police credibility in this country.

Re:Danger. (5, Insightful)

Seumas (6865) | about a year and a half ago | (#43187909)

I'd need you to define "rare". Perhaps they are rare in comparison to the number of times a cop has to draw a gun, but you could probably spend the rest of the decade pouring through news stories about young black men being shot a dozen times for drawing a 3Muskateers candy bar out of their pocket. All you need to do is google phrases like "police [shoot|kill] unarmed [black|woman]". Throw in some searches for things like "police use taser on unarmed elderly woman", while you're at it.

How many times is acceptable? Shouldn't abuse be pretty much a zero-tolerance issue? Shouldn't excessive (but not abusive) force be both a rare exception and one that is dealt with much more seriously than it is? There are far more stories of "police shoot unarmed black man" and "police shoot unarmed woman" and "police tased person because he had a smart mouth or they were too lazy to overpower him despite having a dozen officers surrounding him" and 'police tase or pepper spray 84 year old woman" stories than there are stories of police being killed.

I mean, for fuck's sake, how many times did cops unload on innocent citizens in the search for that ex-military guy a few weeks ago? Wasn't it twice? And one of them actually *was* a blue van with asian women driving when the APB was for a muscular black man in a green truck? Not only that but the police SHOT ONE OF THOSE WOMEN IN THE FUCKING ****BACK****?! (source: http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/lanow/2013/02/ex-cop-manhunt-newspaper-delivery-women-shot.html [latimes.com] ).

Nobody could seriously assert that all cops are corrupted or mentally imbalanced or anything of the sort. That's not what I'm saying. I'm saying what seems pretty obvious from our culture and the news that has covered it for decades -- cops *are* quick to shoot, often shoot without justification, often without thorough investivation, and often without proper persecution. As a whole, they should be taken as a danger to society. Yes, they exist to protect (or, at least, clean up after someone's done some evil shit too you before they got there), but it'd be insane not to treat every encounter with one as one in which you could potentially be shot.

Also, yes they face potentially dangerous situations every day. And they're trained to handle those, so that they don't shoot unarmed and/or innocent people not posing an immediate threat.

Re:Danger. (5, Insightful)

Seumas (6865) | about a year and a half ago | (#43187985)

Oh, I should have also included that whole thing at an Oakland BART station just a few years ago, where a handful of cops had an unarmed man subdued and face-down on the concrete, when one of the cops stands up, steps back, pulls out his gun, and fatally shoots the guy while the other cops are holding him down.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BART_Police_shooting_of_Oscar_Grant [wikipedia.org]

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FJGo2xfKnd0 [youtube.com]

You can take each of these as insignificant anecdotal pieces, but when you start to compile the list, you start to realize that you are just one bad or off day away from a cop putting an end to you. Sometimes a good cop making a mistake or a bad cop losing his shit. And there are also plenty of examples of cops breaking down the wrong doors during SWAT busts, sometimes resulting in the innocent occupants inside being killed. We're not talking hoaxes, here. We're talking police fuck-ups, because they smashed down the wrong front door.

Just google "swat enters wrong home" for all those stories.

I'd say these incidents are hardly "rare".

Re:Danger. (1)

tsotha (720379) | about a year and a half ago | (#43188073)

Rare as in compared to the number of calls of this nature cops go out on every day your odds of being shot are statistically zero.

And then you go on to discuss singular incidents. You realize the US is a country of over three hundred million people, right?

Re:Danger. (1)

lopgok (871111) | about a year and a half ago | (#43188747)

It was a blue pick up truck, not a van, but it certainly was not a nissan titan, nor was it the correct color.

I suspect that the people who shot up the 2 vehicles, will end up paying a high price, which really means that the people living in the cities will end up paying a high price.

On the subject of gun control... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43187425)

it's pretty much to the point where citizens need to treat every encounter with the police as a potentially deadly one.

Well, you're dealing with mere civilians, often carrying not military-style but actual military-grade weaponry, whose training is comparatively pathetic compared to your average NRA card-holdin' gun nut.

Woe unto any fool who doesn't act with extreme caution when dealing with law enforcement.

Standard statement of the obvious: Yes, there are quality LEOs out there. There are also a great many power-mad thugs in blue. If the former don't want people acting all paranoid around them, maybe they should do something about the latter.

Re:Danger. (2)

xyourfacekillerx (939258) | about a year and a half ago | (#43187685)

I really don't think deadly force action by police OR by response from the target is the danger we should be discussing. Believe it or not, police try to make an effort to ascertain the veracity of their intel before making a move like you've imagined.

Besides, statistically speaking, THAT scenario is not why there are strict penalties for fraudulent crime reports. The scenario I've already mentioned is why: the police are unable to respond to actual crimes when they are occupied with unreal crimes/emergencies. The danger is not for the police and their target, but for the heart attack victim across town who has to wait an extra 5 minutes for emergency responders. How is that for insightful.

Re:Danger. (0, Flamebait)

gandhi_2 (1108023) | about a year and a half ago | (#43187881)

A small army of cops showed up to save Brian from Russian gangsters.

They didn't kill Brian, and everyone learned a lesson.

How about you save that whiney anti-cop bullshit for your drum circle?

Re:Danger. (1)

Opr33Opr33 (1180091) | about a year and a half ago | (#43187951)

This wouldn't be nearly as dangerous if we didn't live in a society where a significant portion of our law-enforcement feel like above-the-law gung-ho cowboys...

This wouldn't be nearly as dangerous if citizens didn't regularly shoot cops and each other.

Re:Danger. (1)

Seumas (6865) | about a year and a half ago | (#43187993)

Unarmed citizens don't shoot cops.

Re:Danger. (1)

CodeBuster (516420) | about a year and a half ago | (#43188317)

This wouldn't be nearly as dangerous if we didn't live in a society where a significant portion of our law-enforcement feel like above-the-law gung-ho cowboys looking to shoot now and ask questions later

And why do you suppose that is? Could it be the arrogant over confidence that comes from knowledge that they outgun the average citizen? I submit to you that were the police to face citizens armed equally as well as them they would have a greater degree of humility and respect for the people whom they claim to protect and serve. The 2nd Amendment of the United States Constitution was put into the Bill of Rights, immediately following protection of speech, for a reason; it wasn't a coincidence or an accident. No, the founders wanted to ensure that any future government and it's agents were properly fearful of "the people" and thus would think twice and thrice before abusing those powers granted to them by "the people" in tyrannical ways. It's also worth mentioning that an armed society is a polite and civil society where people treat one another with respect and dignity instead of hurling insults and treating those who doesn't agree with them rudely and disrespectfully.

Cops are trained to approach every incident as a potentially dangerous or life-threatening one and it's pretty much to the point where citizens need to treat every encounter with the police as a potentially deadly one.

It's wise to limit one's dealings with the police in any case because they're here to keep the peace generally, not to protect you as an individual. It's an inherently adversarial relationship and ought to be viewed as such by every citizen who values their freedom. Be respectful and polite when confronted by them, but know your rights and realize that it's not generally in your best interests to cooperate with or volunteer information to them.

Ars Technica under DOS attack? (1)

Kaenneth (82978) | about a year and a half ago | (#43187291)

I've noticed Ars being incredibly slow today, are they under attack?

Re:Ars Technica under DOS attack? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43187329)

Yes, and I think it's mentioned in the story.

Re:Ars Technica under DOS attack? (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43187413)

This morning, Dan Goodin, a good friend and colleague at Ars Technica, published a story about my ordeal after a late night phone interview. This morning, Ars Technica found itself on the receiving end of a nearly identical attack that was launched against my site on Thursday. Turns out, the records at booter.tw show clearly that a customer named Starfall using that same Gmail address also paid for an attack on Arstechnica.com, beginning at approximately 11:54 a.m. ET. A snippet of the logs from booter.tw showing the attack on Ars Technica.com (a.k.a. ‘http://50.31.151.33‘ in the logs) is here.

According to Eric Bangeman, Ars Technica’s managing editor, their site was indeed attacked starting earlier this morning with a denial-of-service flood that briefly knocked the site offline.

“We’ve been up and down all morning, and the [content management system] was basically inaccessible for 2 hours,” Bangeman said, adding that he wasn’t aware of an attack of similar size that knocked the site offline. “If it did, it wasn’t enough to be registering in my memory, and I’ve been around for 10 years.”

Re:Ars Technica under DOS attack? (4, Funny)

Kaenneth (82978) | about a year and a half ago | (#43187689)

I was worried that EA was doing it in response to the bad reviews SimCity was getting.

A popular product with always-online DRM could create a heck of a botnet.

Re:Ars Technica under DOS attack? (1)

towermac (752159) | about a year and a half ago | (#43187813)

Wish I had mod points.

This is the real guy. Somebody mod the AC up.

Re:Ars Technica under DOS attack? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43187667)

Yeah, they got mentioned on Slashdot.

Re:Ars Technica under DOS attack? (1)

FuzzNugget (2840687) | about a year and a half ago | (#43187681)

Well, TFS links directly to an Ars Technica article, so yes.

"I guess this time he poked the wrong bear" (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43187397)

Does reporting about criminal groups really count as poking the wrong bear? Or do you think he deserves everything he gets?

Re:"I guess this time he poked the wrong bear" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43187781)

The bears being poked are criminal groups. One wonders why you're defending criminal against someone that outs them. Got something to hide too?

Re:"I guess this time he poked the wrong bear" (2)

RedLeg (22564) | about a year and a half ago | (#43188139)

No.

There is inherent danger in taking on a criminal element, cyber or otherwise, either as a reporter or a member of the law enforcement community. They are criminals, and do not adhere to the norms (laws and ethics) of society. Brian has chosen his path of reporting on and exposing these miscreants in a public forum, and to not hide his identity, knowing full well the risks of repercussions. He was so aware of the specific threat of being SWATted that he approached his local Law Enforcement authorities in advance of this attack to educate them and alert them to the possibility that he might be targeted. No, he didn't "deserve" what happened, and I would never imply that he did.

There is some safety in publicity; obviously, in this case, it was insufficient. DDOSing your web site in retaliation is one thing. THIS attack crossed the line. THAT's what "poking the wrong bear" means.

Red

Re:"I guess this time he poked the wrong bear" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43188421)

Or do you think he deserves everything he gets?

It's beating the wasp nest. Maybe it needed to be beat, you leave it there and they sting someone else. But he hit it and he got stung.

WTF? (5, Insightful)

The Grim Reefer (1162755) | about a year and a half ago | (#43187401)

SWATting is the practice of spoofing a call to emergency responders (911 in the U.S.) to induce an overwhelming and potentially devastating response from law enforcement and/or other first responders to the home or residence of the victim.

Seriously, what the fuck is wrong with people? I'm not sure what is worse; that someone came up with doing this, the fact that this happens enough that there's a term for it, or the caviler way the summary reports it. "I guess this time he poked the wrong bear."

Re:WTF? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43187761)

You forgot the most important WTF of all, I think: WTFF is going on when law enforcement are such gung-ho maniacs that they're usuable as a weapon in this way in the first place??

Re:WTF? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43188049)

You're right! Everyone go home now, all phone calls to all police stations will now go unanswered. There's no way for us to really know what's going on out there so we shouldn't risk upsetting a few people by attempting a response. Goodnight.

Re:WTF? (-1, Troll)

geek (5680) | about a year and a half ago | (#43187975)

Re:WTF? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43188199)

You killed your credibility with the first word of your post, put it in a coffin by citing 'theblaze.com' and nailed it shut by citing 'freedomworks.org'.

If you can't be bothered to cite sources that aren't as biased as new coming out of the PDRK, why bother posting at all?

Classic example of the importance of anonymity (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43187431)

For those that say "anonymity on the Internet is not important", look no further than this story for proof that you're wrong.

Sometimes good guys should be both permitted and encouraged to guard their anonymity and privacy online. It is not just for those doing wrong.

Re:Classic example of the importance of anonymity (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43187917)

YEP! "If you're not doing anything wrong, you should have nothing to hide" . . . Unless the person on the other end happens to be stalking your facebook account to see when you're out of the house to rob you, or someone wants to steal your identity for criminal purposes, or someone wants to blackmail/extort money out of you, or someone wants to send a jumped up SWAT team to your house on a false police report.

Even the law-N-urder people should be able to understand why this is a bad idea on those terms.

Re:Classic example of the importance of anonymity (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43188703)

You can't get someone SWATed if you can't stay anonymous, so yeah, it's important in this case.

How do they get away with this? (3, Insightful)

tsotha (720379) | about a year and a half ago | (#43187435)

I want to know how people can call 911 and report something like this without being discovered. Every 911 call is traced immediately, and mobile calls automatically get GPS fixed. Are they using a stolen mobile from a car or something like that?

Re:How do they get away with this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43187481)

mobile calls automatically get GPS fixed.

No, they don't. And even if they did, it wouldn't prevent spoofing.

Re:How do they get away with this? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43187511)

Any mobile call could be located by triangulation between cell towers, and this would be unspoofable by anyone outside the phone company.

Re:How do they get away with this? (1)

MaskedSlacker (911878) | about a year and a half ago | (#43188011)

This is not a GPS fix.

GPS is not a gloss for all radio-based location finding.

Re:How do they get away with this? (1)

tsotha (720379) | about a year and a half ago | (#43188043)

Yes they do. Your GPS receiver automatically turns on when you make a 911 call. No, it doesn't prevent spoofing, but that takes a bit more sophistication.

Re:How do they get away with this? (1)

hildolfr (2866861) | about a year and a half ago | (#43188423)

E911 is a disable-able feature on many current day Android implementations.

Re:How do they get away with this? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43187623)

CallerID on landlines can be hacked by an Orange box. Though this won't usually work with 911.
Probably this was done from VOIP to E911. Supposedly easier to hack.
It's unlikely the call came from a cellphone.
It's only going to get worse now that some 911 dispatches accept SMS/texts.

Full disclosure: Infosec guy. Haven't actually done any of this, but I did make a red box in college with my HP95lx. Never got it to work.

This should never happen (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43187483)

When a cell phone calls 9-1-1, it should be possible (and required) for the phone company to provide unspoofable location information to the dispatcher.

Re:This should never happen (2)

Ol Olsoc (1175323) | about a year and a half ago | (#43187617)

All that ended when we went to the Interwbz for phone. Now I have no idea how phone calls can be made unspoofable.

Re:This should never happen (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43187651)

All that ended when we went to the Interwbz for phone. Now I have no idea how phone calls can be made unspoofable.

Implement RSA on telephones and have key-signing parties like we did in the good old days. Done.

Re:This should never happen (1)

Glendale2x (210533) | about a year and a half ago | (#43187995)

All that ended when we went to the Interwbz for phone. Now I have no idea how phone calls can be made unspoofable.

Implement RSA on telephones and have key-signing parties like we did in the good old days. Done.

But the tubes are supposed to be anonymous.

Re:This should never happen (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43187693)

Any phone call made from the Internet to a regular phone has to enter the regular phone system at some point, where it can be marked as "Internet origin: Location unknown".

Re:This should never happen (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43188469)

It needs to be routeable. Couldn't they get the IP address, and then track it down (probably to an elderly couple that got their wireless router aircracked)

Not so fast (-1, Flamebait)

xyourfacekillerx (939258) | about a year and a half ago | (#43187507)

Props to Krebs for appropriately calling the events kinds of a "deadly prank". When Law enforcement deploys assets to faux crimes they lose resources to deal with actual crimes, and that is the threat implied here. Ethical choice for Krebs is clear, if this happens again, he needs to stop chucking rocks at that bee hive unless he can immediately contain it, because otherwise he becomes responsible for the potentially deadly circumstances created by those pranks.

Re:Not so fast (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43187671)

So, your advice is "hit your knees, and suck their dick"? No fucking thank you. He needs to keep on doing what he is doing, but be aware, now, that these assholes play dirty and know how to defuse situations where the police arrive at his house.

Re:Not so fast (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43187683)

So in your mind... a gal who is raped while wearing a short skirt... had it coming and should stop wearing short skirts unless she can guarantee her own defense?

I wonder how long is long enough.

Re:Not so fast (2)

nedlohs (1335013) | about a year and a half ago | (#43187907)

The threat implied here is that people get shot during SWAT raids.

Either because an officer "accidentally" discharges his weapon or because a resident defends themselves against an apparent home invasion or because they thought they saw a gun.

Property is also often damaged.

Re:Not so fast (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43188057)

Well why would we let that spoil our fun?

- anonymous

Re:Not so fast (1)

Arancaytar (966377) | about a year and a half ago | (#43188149)

When Law enforcement deploys assets to faux crimes they lose resources to deal with actual crimes, and that is the threat implied here.

There's an opportunity cost too, yes, but the immediate threat implied here is him being shot by a nervous cop.

because otherwise he becomes responsible for the potentially deadly circumstances created by those pranks

Yes, somebody reporting a crime is at fault for the criminal committing more crimes in retaliation. Are you high?

Gun culture (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43188117)

If somebody kicks in your door, I could imagine situations where people who are armed and in their home fire back at an intruder who claims to be the police. And what a mess that would be.

Yay guns! They make us safe.

Re:Gun culture (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43188433)

And if it weren't the cops and was instead a random thug? You know what the response time is to a crime in your area? In his it was apparently enough time to finish vacuuming the carpet and go out his door to do some cleaning...

Most SWATing Against Conservative Bloggers (1)

Nova Express (100383) | about a year and a half ago | (#43188313)

The most prominent cases of SWATing I'm aware of have been carried out against conservative bloggers:

Several cases seen to involve people criticizing convicted Speedway Bomber felon (and left-wing activist) Brett Kimberlin [battleswarmblog.com] .

Re:Most SWATing Against Conservative Bloggers (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43188443)

And after all that, they still can't quit slobbering all over the cops' jackboots, I'd bet. "Thank you sir, may I have another?"

Still, I really wish people would stop doing it, because unlike both batshit insane liberals and crazy wingnut conservatives that make up most of the vocal political spectrum, I actually worry about what happens when someone I don't like has the power and uses it in ways I don't like, so I would rather not have the power myself.

Re:Most SWATing Against Conservative Bloggers (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43188639)

If they're conservative, then they deserve that. So what's your point?

SWATing illustrates a problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43188755)

Spoof call says "Lindsay Lohan has people in the yard" and they roll the SWAT team. Real call from South Central says "there's a guy shooting outside my house in Jordan Downs" and they say "thank you for the call, we'll update the statistics"

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