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Man Hacks 911 System, Sends SWAT on Bogus Raid

Zonk posted about 7 years ago | from the word-dumb-doesn't-cover-it dept.

Security 754

An anonymous reader writes "The Orange County Register reports that a 19 year old from Washington state broke into the Orange County California 911 emergency system. He randomly selected the name and address of a Lake Forest, California couple and electronically transferred false information into the 911 system. The Orange County California Sheriff's Department's Special Weapons and Tactics Team was immediately sent to the home of a couple with two sleeping toddlers. The SWAT team handcuffed the husband and wife before deciding it was a prank. Says the article, 'Other law enforcement agencies have seen similar breaches into their 911 systems as part of a trend picked up by computer hackers in the nation called "SWATting"'"

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Good grief (2, Insightful)

spamking (967666) | about 7 years ago | (#21014869)

some people have way too much time on their hands.

Re:Good grief (5, Insightful)

onion2k (203094) | about 7 years ago | (#21014921)

True, but in a good way. It's a pretty harrowing experience for the innocent victim but at least it was just a prank. A more nefarious criminal could use the same exploit to send a SWAT team to the other end of their jurisdiction while they carried out a robbery. This way the security flaw can be found and fixed with relatively little harm done.

Re:Good grief (5, Insightful)

MightyYar (622222) | about 7 years ago | (#21015073)

I'd agree with you if the hackers had told the cops about the flaw and they didn't fix it - but in this case, they just exploited the flaw for their own amusement. Someone could have been killed, and then a lot of lives would have been ruined. Off the top of my head: the cop who shot an innocent or the innocent who shot a cop, the person who was shot, and possibly the hacker. Fucking with the cops is only funny in the movies.

Re:Good grief (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#21015335)

Mod parent up. He's absolutely right and doesn't even know why--It's not at all funny that it's so appallingly EASY to fuck with people who have the power to arrest or execute someone who justifiably engages in defense of their home and family against armed invaders. In fact--it's downright distressing.

The cops should be held responsible for acting with preparation and intent to utilize lethal force based solely upon such readily compromised intelligence, and the flaw should be fixed immediately. The hacker--an idiot. But everyone knows the old saying--fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. The cops have been getting fooled around the country for years and still done nothing to correct the situation.

Re:Good grief (4, Insightful)

tnk1 (899206) | about 7 years ago | (#21015091)

You say that, but good is relative.

What if the guy whose house this is happened to be at home cleaning his gun in his basement or in some way looked threatening to someone who was looking to assault his house? Sure, SWAT is trained not to shoot first and ask questions later, but I wouldn't be particularly happy to be flashbanged or tear gassed because some little shit can send a SWAT team to my house for no reason.

And of course, people who happened to be armed tend to look unfavorably at people attacking their home, whether they yell "Police" or not upon busting down their door. Sending a special weapons and tactics unit anywhere is a firefight waiting to happen.

Re:Good grief (1)

bigdavex (155746) | about 7 years ago | (#21015103)

True, but in a good way. It's a pretty harrowing experience for the innocent victim but at least it was just a prank. A more nefarious criminal could use the same exploit to send a SWAT team to the other end of their jurisdiction while they carried out a robbery. This way the security flaw can be found and fixed with relatively little harm done.

True enough. But couldn't he have sent them to an empty lot with a porta-potty? That sounds like more fun anyway.

Re:Good grief (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#21015113)

It's all fun and games until someone SWATs someone and they turn out to be black. Try handing the SWAT guys your wallet and they might shoot you thinking you had a gun.

I think someone should SWAT the guys who do this.

(posted AC so I don't get SWATed, seriously)

Re:Good grief (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#21015137)

Little harm done? What if someone called the SWAT on your bitch ass and they cuffed you, treated you like shit, separated you from your family to ask questions about some shit you dont know about? Do you think the SWAT came in asking questionsand being friendly? Do you think they even gave an apology when they left? fukkin moron... yea real good job little harm done.. youre nothing but a Shaun Earsom Cocksuckin fool with sperm dribbling down those pearly white cheeks .. you fat fukk.. nothing but a net nerd pussy...

Re:Good grief (4, Interesting)

Guppy06 (410832) | about 7 years ago | (#21015157)

"It's a pretty harrowing experience for the innocent victim but at least it was just a prank."

It's all fun and games until someone gets shot for resisting arrest?

Oh spare me (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#21015305)

You are really blowing this out of proportion. I do this all the time, only occasionaly does someone get shot.

Get over yourself!

Re:Good grief (1)

IndustrialComplex (975015) | about 7 years ago | (#21015169)

While the software can be fixed, the flaw isn't so easy to repair.

A nefarious person only needs a patsy to make a call on the opposite side of the city. $100 to a drug addict or something similar. Heck, the guy doesn't even need to stay there. Break in, call 911, leave.

In my opinion we are lucky that mostly everyone is law abiding. It doesn't take much in the way of planning to understand the flaws in our system. I suppose that is why it is a Justice System and not a Protection System since it must remain as a reactionary body. I would shudder to imagine what a protective police force would have to be like to be 'successful'.

Re:Good grief (4, Insightful)

sholden (12227) | about 7 years ago | (#21015177)

Because no one has ever been killed in a SWAT raid before. Certainly never an innocent person.

http://www.cato.org/raidmap/ [cato.org]

Linux security? (-1, Troll)

The_Abortionist (930834) | about 7 years ago | (#21015199)

It's no surprise that the system was running Linux. Oh well, live and learn. Linux can't be trusted on sensitive systems.

Re:Good grief (5, Insightful)

Hatta (162192) | about 7 years ago | (#21015277)

Just a prank? Good god man! Mistaken ID gets people killed in situations like this. Frequently these searches are executed without any announcement. Just men with guns breaking through your door. What's a good law abiding citizen going to do if they live in an area where home invasion robberies aren't uncommon? They're rightfully going to defend themselves. The cops will rightfully defend themselves. Long story short, people die because of lesser screw ups than this. Don't minimize it.

Re:Good grief (1)

Korveck (1145695) | about 7 years ago | (#21014931)

It is more than just too much time on their hands. I'd call it no sense of responsibility for own action.

Re:Good grief (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#21014935)

if( ( user.getAvailableTime() > user.getIntelligence() ) && (user.getHistory().eventExists(EventConstants.BREACH_OF_911_SYSTEM) ) ) {
user.terminate();
}

See? THAT's too much time on my hands being used productively.

sweet . . . (1)

spamking (967666) | about 7 years ago | (#21015093)

I've learned about a new concept . . . how a first post can be redundant.

Re:Good grief (1)

charlesbakerharris (623282) | about 7 years ago | (#21015321)

He'll have even more free time in prison.

SLASHDOT SUX0RZ (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#21014889)

_0_
\''\
'=o='
.|!|
.| |
cure for AIDS found, click here to read more [goatse.ch]

I'm really glad I don't believe in hell... (0, Flamebait)

FlyingSquidStudios (1031284) | about 7 years ago | (#21014897)

Because I would so be going there for finding this hilariously funny.

I for one... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#21015011)

would be right behind you!

Re:I'm really glad I don't believe in hell... (1)

cromar (1103585) | about 7 years ago | (#21015027)

truly epic rorz.

Re:I'm really glad I don't believe in hell... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#21015055)

Yes, heavily armed SWAT teams plowing into your home and running down your small children - fucking hilarious. There will be deaths at some point - even more hilarity.

Great Geek culture - self-righteous "morality" on copyright law and capitalism, stuff "that matters", and hacker tricks that terrorize (and potentially murder) small children...

Re:I'm really glad I don't believe in hell... (1)

FlyingSquidStudios (1031284) | about 7 years ago | (#21015083)

I didn't say it was a good thing. I said it was funny.

Re:I'm really glad I don't believe in hell... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#21015325)

Congrats for the self-righteous elevation of the stupid comment of one person into an indictment of a whole group of people. I'm sorry someone here made fun of you once, but you need to get over it.

Obligatory and most likely ignored... (5, Insightful)

Romancer (19668) | about 7 years ago | (#21015069)

Alright so here's the rant:

So do we all feel safer after the establishment of Homeland Security and the billions of dollars spent in upgrading the ease of violating our civil liberties here at home in the name of protecting those same distinctions that make America different? This is another nail in the coffin of fear that we're building for ourselves here in the name of safety. When our most basic methods of crying out for help to our protectors can so easily be broken and used by the tormentors I feel a tremendous sense of loss for what we could have done with the same motivation and money that has been spent on this fear mongering compaign with the almost transparent attempts to simply gain power using the real threats that we face as a shield. America is great because of the people who don't love it or leave it, but protect it and improve it. The swearing in of the presidency is the paramount symbol of this nation, to make an oath to protect America against threats forign and domestic and uphold the constitution. It's not a choice between the two. For without the constitution there would have been no America to protect. At least no America where you would have the rights that allow you to be protected in the first place.

It's sad that the most basic of methods to protect the people is so vulnerable.

Re:Obligatory and most likely ignored... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#21015345)

I think you're supposed to end this kind of political rant with "Vote Ron Paul! REVOLUTION!"

Stupid & dangerous (4, Insightful)

Arthur B. (806360) | about 7 years ago | (#21014899)

If the guy that was targeted thought someone was breaking in and tried to defend himself, he would probably have been killed... nice prank :(

Re:Stupid & dangerous (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#21014943)

I can see it now, some geek hacks the new pentagon war room and hey presto some idiot goes and invades iran

Re:Stupid & dangerous (5, Funny)

megaditto (982598) | about 7 years ago | (#21015249)

It was a typo. I mean, Q and N are right next to each-other.

Re:Stupid & dangerous (0)

SatanicPuppy (611928) | about 7 years ago | (#21014963)

I can't believe that they'd send out a swat team based purely on computer entered info. Does no one have to authorize that use of force? Seems like it would be as vulnerable to a typo as to malicious alteration.

I'd think that sort of thing would work with a pizza delivery system. I wouldn't think it would work for a van fully of heavily armed cops.

Re:Stupid & dangerous (1)

BlowHole666 (1152399) | about 7 years ago | (#21015005)

Do you never watch Dallas Swat or something like that? They get a page that says where to go and what to do etc. So they probably sent a page out to all the guys in the swat team with something made up. The swat guys did what they were trained to do. So they responded. Also this could have been to the computer system inside the cars. It could have been to a dispatch agent who called it out over the radio.

Okay, having rtfa (5, Informative)

SatanicPuppy (611928) | about 7 years ago | (#21015067)

What he hacked up was their caller id system, so it looked like the call was coming from the house in question. He stated in the call that he'd overdosed on cocaine, was shot, and that someone was going to kill his sister. Sounds like they sent 20 guys, which would seem to be a rational response given drugs + guns + unknown number of assailants.

They handcuffed the homeowner because he went out in his skivvies with a kitchen knife because he thought he heard people on the lawn. I guess he saved his door getting kicked in, but I'm not sure he sees it as a good thing.

Re:Okay, having rtfa (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | about 7 years ago | (#21015127)

"This is the Moral Majority. Please come up with your hands in the air and your penis firmly inside your underwear."

Re:Stupid & dangerous (1)

MightyYar (622222) | about 7 years ago | (#21015131)

I'm on the opposite side of this one. In my experience, written information is much more reliable than the spoken word. A dispatcher is just as likely to mis-speak as to mis-type. And a written order gives you a paper trail in case a mistake is made, whereas relying on vocal communication can lead to "he said, she said" situations.

Re:Stupid & dangerous (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#21014973)

As long as the blame were laid squarely where it belongs: on the heads of the politicians who dictate budgets which are usually woefully short of IT funds. An extra $10,000 on security a decade ago could have prevented the entire fiasco, including overtime, supplies, and the soon-to-ensue court, jail, etc costs.

Prevention is almost always cheaper.

Re:Stupid & dangerous (2, Insightful)

msimm (580077) | about 7 years ago | (#21014983)

Good thing they typically yell police. But it's still a stupid prank.

Re:Stupid & dangerous (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#21015009)

Yeah. No one else can yell "police".

Re:Stupid & dangerous (3, Insightful)

elrous0 (869638) | about 7 years ago | (#21015017)

Burglars, murderers, and rapists can yell "Police!" too.

Re:Stupid & dangerous (4, Funny)

theguru (70699) | about 7 years ago | (#21015107)

But.. but.. that would be illegal.

Re:Stupid & dangerous (4, Insightful)

SatanicPuppy (611928) | about 7 years ago | (#21015171)

If 10 rapists in riot gear with automatic weapons are running at me yelling, "Police!" I'm fucked whether I drop the gun or not.

It's usually not all that difficult to tell the difference between a police raid and a home invasion. The cops will not even attempt to be subtle once they start moving in.

Re:Stupid & dangerous (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#21015343)

If 10 rapists in riot gear with automatic weapons are running at me yelling, "Police!" I'm fucked whether I drop the gun or not.

Quite literally.

Re:Stupid & dangerous (1)

maxume (22995) | about 7 years ago | (#21015119)

So if I decide to break into someones house to kill them, I should yell "Police" first, so they don't react?

Re:Stupid & dangerous (1)

gstoddart (321705) | about 7 years ago | (#21015209)

Good thing they typically yell police. But it's still a stupid prank.

Well, scary enough is the resident of the home heard the commotion, thought it was an intruder, and went into his backyard with a kitchen knife in hand to defend his family.

That could have escalated into a hard take down very quickly. There was huge potential for loss of life here. From what I've seen on TV, SWAT yells 'police' as they're breeching.

I agree with a previous poster -- this is the kind of stuff I'd expect to affect a pizza delivery system not 911. The fact that they think this is the 3rd time this kid has done this means they really need to throw as many charges at him as possible and put him away.

Cheers

Re:Stupid & dangerous (1)

doombringerltx (1109389) | about 7 years ago | (#21015135)

FTFA:

Thinking that a prowler was roaming his back yard, a resident of the home, identified only as Doug B. in the district attorney's complaint filed in court, walked outside with a kitchen knife as SWAT officers from the Orange County Sheriff's Department waited with assault rifles.

He thought they were prowlers at first and tried to defend them himself and then droped the knife when he figured out who it was. I imagine this is pretty standard among people who have their houses raided by the police. And no I don't want to find out, so no "hacking". ;)

As another poster has pointed out, the article makes it sound like this "hack" was just caller ID spoofing which is pretty disapointing.

Re:Stupid & dangerous (1)

evilviper (135110) | about 7 years ago | (#21015191)

If the guy [...] thought someone was breaking in and tried to defend himself
...he would have to be a complete idiot.

You really think this issue has never come up before? It happens all the time, so there are strict rules in place to prevent such accidents, and ensure blame is properly assigned when it does happen.

Police in most states are required to knock on the door, and usually state that they have a warrant before entering. Besides that, it's beaten into every officer's head that the word "Police" starts every sentence... Every time an officer sees someone, 'Police' will be the first word out of his mouth. That single word is the difference between self defense and a murder conviction, so they make damn sure they say it.

Re:Stupid & dangerous (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#21015319)

Please edumucate yourself before posting. Have you heard of "no knock" warrants? In those, the police don't knock, they just bust in. Besides, a warrant isn't needed when there's probable cause, and a call for assistance probably constitutes probable cause.

As far as defending oneself against police, it's happened, and people have even killed police when a bad no-knock warrant is executed. Those people get of scott free, as the warrant is bad (it's the cop's fault if they don't take the time to check out the building and make sure it's the right place, at least, according to the court system).

He did try to defend himself (3, Informative)

paladinwannabe2 (889776) | about 7 years ago | (#21015241)

Apparently the owner heard a 'prowler' and went out armed with a kitchen knife. The kid's lucky no one was killed- he'd be looking at murder charges in addition to whatever fraud charges he's got now.

Re:Stupid & dangerous (1)

nocomment (239368) | about 7 years ago | (#21015273)

He did. The guy in the house heard rustling and went into the backyard with a knife. He could have easily been picked off right there.

So what state is the crime? (0)

_PimpDaddy7_ (415866) | about 7 years ago | (#21014903)

Is the crime he committed in Washington or Orange County, CA? Because it "crossed" state lines, does it become a Federal offense? Interesting...

So the SWAT team got hacked LOL

Re:So what state is the crime? (4, Insightful)

east coast (590680) | about 7 years ago | (#21015007)

So the SWAT team got hacked LOL

You'll think that until you end up being on the short end of the stick. It's nice to have the police show up and you getting a few round from a MP5 popped into your chest for trying to make heads or tails of the commotion. Don't think it won't happen sooner or later. I know if someone was beating in my door at 3 a.m. the first things I'm reaching for is a flashlight and my H&K 45.

Defacing a webpage is funny. Risking some unknown family's lives over a prank is just idiotic.

Re:So what state is the crime? (2, Informative)

spotdog14 (877656) | about 7 years ago | (#21015021)

Yes, it crossed the state lines. That is a felony. Sucks to be that kid! But what a dumbass thing to do in the first place. At least send the Swat Team to McDonalds or something.

Man, what a shitbag (0)

Reality Master 201 (578873) | about 7 years ago | (#21014915)

Here's hoping the kid winds up having to pay for everything, getting sued for millions, and having to spend several years in prison.

Re:Man, what a shitbag (1)

Major Blud (789630) | about 7 years ago | (#21015071)

Several years in a Federal Pound-me-in-the-A** Prison....

...with two sleeping toddlers (4, Funny)

siyavash (677724) | about 7 years ago | (#21014917)

Don't these hackers THINK OF THE CHILDREN? ^^ ...I know, I know. :p

Forged CID (2, Insightful)

jfroot (455025) | about 7 years ago | (#21014937)

"The purpose is to create a false 911 call that appears to be coming from the residence in question and prompt a SWAT response from local law enforcement agencies, Barnes said."

It sounds to me that this was not really a systems penetration type of 'hack', rather the kid forged his Caller ID.

Re:Forged CID (5, Informative)

222 (551054) | about 7 years ago | (#21015061)

Hrmm. 911 uses ANI, not your garden variety CID. I'm not saying it's impossible to spoof, but WAAAAAY harder and typically involves something being mis configured at your telco. ANI is also used to handle billing for 1-800 numbers, etc.

Re:Forged CID (1, Troll)

blhack (921171) | about 7 years ago | (#21015279)

Sir, please take your rational, knowledgable, and insightful comments elsewhere.
THIS IS SLASHDOT FOR FORD'S SAKE!

Re:Forged CID (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#21015173)

Oh my!!

all this talk about penetration and ANIs and 19 year old boys and handcuffs and SWATing. I've got a raging erection folks!

- Rob Malda

Re:Forged CID (2, Insightful)

Experiment 626 (698257) | about 7 years ago | (#21015233)

While his hack could turn out to be something that simple, my understanding is that emergency response systems use the ANI identification information (Automatic Number Identification, the actual identification information that phone companies use for billing) rather than the Caller ID (easy to spoof, block, etc. and in general much less accurate than people give it credit for).

Re:Forged CID (1)

parcel (145162) | about 7 years ago | (#21015259)

It sounds to me that this was not really a systems penetration type of 'hack', rather the kid forged his Caller ID.
But it also says "False 911 calls are placed all the time, McHenry said, but he said this is the first time someone has hacked into Orange County's system and created a false call in this way." It sounds to me like normally it's CID spoofing, but in this case it seems they're implying that the OC 911 system was hacked. But it's pretty vague.

scary (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#21014951)

Imagine if a group of folks got together and pulled this off in an organized way. Just how many emergency services could they pull from something *REAL* that was happening?

Proxy (3, Interesting)

kilo_foxtrot84 (1016017) | about 7 years ago | (#21014957)

assault with an assault weapon by proxy
I find this charge to be very interesting. Are there any sort of precedents for it?

Re:Proxy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#21015129)


It's basically the same thing as if you tell someone to commit an assault. The assault weapons bit is just an enhancement for sentencing purposes.

It's probably most often used against gang leaders.

Scary that a computer report alone... (2, Insightful)

elrous0 (869638) | about 7 years ago | (#21014961)

Scary to think that a team of grown, (presumably) reasonable adults can be convinced to kick down your door and point a gun in your face just because a random report on a computer screen says so--with absolutely no confirmation at all from an superior or actual living person involved in the case.

There are WAY too many stupid, unthinking individuals in law enforcement to allow them to act with this kind of force without some direct authorization from someone with at least a LITTLE sense.

We live in a time where fear is threatening *WAY* more people than terrorism ever could.

Re:Scary that a computer report alone... (1, Informative)

PhxBlue (562201) | about 7 years ago | (#21015041)

Alternately, you could say we live in a time where the government is the most effective terrorist.

Re:Scary that a computer report alone... (1)

elrous0 (869638) | about 7 years ago | (#21015207)

I'm reminded of a line from Terry Gilliam many years back, talking about the movie "Brazil." He says that it takes place in a time where the government has launched so many different and conflicting counter-terrorism operations and staged bombings that they're not sure if there even are any ACTUAL terrorists still left. They are completely ruled by fear of an enemy who may well not even exist anymore (if ever), or pose any real threat at all. The government has become the worst enemy of the people, under the ironic guise of protecting them.

Re:Scary that a computer report alone... (1)

mi (197448) | about 7 years ago | (#21015333)

Alternately, you could say we live in a time where the government is the most effective terrorist.

No, you can't. The definition of "terrorist" does not apply:

The noun terrorism has 1 sense (no senses from tagged texts)
1. terrorism, act of terrorism, terrorist act -- (the calculated use of violence (or the threat of violence) against civilians in order to attain goals that are political or religious or ideological in nature; this is done through intimidation or coercion or instilling fear)

Note, that the results of an act don't matter to the determination of whether it was terrorism or not, the goals do. And the goals of the SWAT teams are apprehending suspects in a (serious) crime — not political, religious, or ideological.

(Take your "US is the number one terrorist" agenda and shove it.)

Re:Scary that a computer report alone... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#21015155)

We live in a time where fear is threatening *WAY* more people than terrorism ever could.

So you are saying that dispite Iraq and Afganistan, Bin Laden is winning?

Re:Scary that a computer report alone... (4, Insightful)

LWATCDR (28044) | about 7 years ago | (#21015163)

"There are WAY too many stupid, unthinking individuals in law enforcement to allow them to act with this kind of force without some direct authorization from someone with at least a LITTLE sense."
I guess you didn't read the story.
It was a PHONE CALL. He somehow forged the CID and it looked like the call came from that address.
So what you would like is this," Someone with an assault rife is trying to break into my home". We will send you some help as soon as we get permission?

"We live in a time where fear is threatening *WAY* more people than terrorism ever could." Yep in in this case it is your fear of the goverment that is outside of reason. The police seemed to have acted properly in this case and showed good restraint. The man "heard" a noise in his backyard and went out with a "KITCHEN KNIFE" to see what it was. Brilliant... So the SWAT team after being told that there was someone with a weapon at that location runs into a guy in his PJs with a knife! And they didn't shoot him.

Read the story (4, Insightful)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | about 7 years ago | (#21015235)

What the kid did was fake a call from the residence claiming that he had been shot and people were going to kill his sister. If I place a call like that, I WANT the SWAT team to kick in my door, I want 20 heavily armed people coming to save me. I don't want them to say "Well hang on a minute here, let's get the confirmation from the captain, a chief, a judge, and sit on it for day in case it's a hoax." I want them coming over and saving my life.

Yes, had they gone to some other random house, then I'd be with you on needing authorization, however this was, as far as they could tell, an emergency call from the resident in need of immediate help. Given that the emergency call involved drugs, a shooting and a potential hostage situation, this was an appropriate response. When you call for help, that's all the authorization they should need. The failure is in the identification system, not in the response. Had this been a real call, that's the kind of power you want to send, especially if there's a potential hostage situation.

Re:Scary that a computer report alone... (1)

BobMcD (601576) | about 7 years ago | (#21015285)

"...let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself -- nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror ..."
Franklin D. Roosevelt (http://historymatters.gmu.edu/d/5057/ [gmu.edu] )

The only difference today is that we've put a name on our terror, uncreative though it may be. There still is no reason applied to it, nor any sane justification for it.

Re:Scary that a computer report alone... (1)

Korveck (1145695) | about 7 years ago | (#21015323)

Which part of the news states that the action was not authorized by a superior? How can you get an actual living person to confirm this if the case was real? They get a report, and they act accordingly. If they take the time to verify whether the report is correct, they risk losing valuable time to arrive at the crime scene. The only thing you should blame in this case is the security flaw. There is nothing wrong with the way SWAT reacted to the report.

Re:Scary that a computer report alone... (1)

Cedric Tsui (890887) | about 7 years ago | (#21015337)

This goes to elrous0 and to the 4 moderators.

READ THE F*CKING ARTICLE!!!

There was no electronic report. No computer screen told the swat team to go to the house. All the levels of direct authorization were present. The swat team was dispatched by radio with direct orders from their superiors.

The hacker phoned 911 and told them that he had overdosed on cocaine, had been shot and that someone was trying to kill his sister. The only hacked computer involved was the caller ID which was rigged to make it seem the call was coming from the house in question.

dealing with innocents (5, Insightful)

Speare (84249) | about 7 years ago | (#21014967)

I totally don't condone the "prankster" jerk's behavior in this incident, or anything similar.

However, I have to say that a silver lining in this sort of incident is that it might help the more zealous members of law enforcement (ever more beefy, ever more armored, ever more anonymous, ever more hair-triggered) remember that there are innocent people out there who don't deserve a knee in the back, a taser in the ass, or a broken door. A citizen who is drunk at a restaurant, or who is loud at a rally does not equate to being dangerous or resisting.

When you assume, it makes an ass of you and me. When a cop assumes, all too often he reaches for his sidearm.

Re:dealing with innocents (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#21015239)

a taser in the ass

Sounds Kinky, Can I borrow yours?

One really stupid hack (1)

Z00L00K (682162) | about 7 years ago | (#21014987)

If you are going to make a hack that calls in the SWAT team - assign them to some place of the Aryan Brotherhood, locally known drug outfit or something like that and leave ordinary people.

Or if you really want to embarrass them send them to the local church after midnight.

Re:One really stupid hack (3, Insightful)

Maxo-Texas (864189) | about 7 years ago | (#21015019)

I think you should assign them to the home of a federal district judge or a state or federal representative.

Then something would be done about it.

I remember reading stories (here i think) that people have already died because of resisting mistaken police swat teams breaking into their house without warning in the middle of the night.

Re:One really stupid hack (4, Informative)

njfuzzy (734116) | about 7 years ago | (#21015077)

"Or if you really want to embarrass them send them to the local church after midnight."

Yeah. I get pretty embarrassed watching goth kids have sex too.

It's asshats like this one (3, Insightful)

techpawn (969834) | about 7 years ago | (#21014997)

It's "hackers" like this who give "hackers" a bad name! Not saying that hacker is the most glorious title to have, but it's douche bags like this one who thinks it funny to hack for this reason that makes serious security people, white and black hat alike, pissed.

Security is an illusion (2, Insightful)

mdigiac1 (1169929) | about 7 years ago | (#21014999)

Would it be interesting if he sent false information to the police and it actually turned out to be right. Like the biggest drug ring foiled. Anyway it is stupid that of all people the police are hackable. How safe are we really?

WTF!? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#21015025)

``assault with an assault weapon by proxy.''

How the hell do lawmakers dream this shit up?

How about ``assault because of stupid IT personal using insecure Windows Operating Systems to run Critical Emergency Services''

Re:WTF!? (2, Insightful)

ceoyoyo (59147) | about 7 years ago | (#21015303)

So by that reasoning a 19 year old just HAD to do this because he COULD?

The system should have been secure yes. This idiot should have known that sending a SWAT team off on a wild goose chase to someone's house was a dumb idea.

The ability to commit a crime is not a justification for committing that crime.

How does this keep happening? (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#21015031)

I'm really naive about security, so I can't understand how these security breaches happen time and time again. If these systems were web based, or offering some kind of web or internet service which necessitated having open TCP ports I'd find this easier to understand. Why is it that ordinary office systems (and bespoke Command and Control Systems), and documents sitting on file servers behind corporate firewalls, with no direct connection to the outside world are always so vulnerable? Surely it's possible to run an internal network (ethernet or whatever) in such a way as to make it completely inaccessible from the outside world, while running an email and web gateway?

Re:How does this keep happening? (1)

adamstew (909658) | about 7 years ago | (#21015205)

I think the issue is that government contracts typically go to the lowest bidder and not necessarily the best person for the job. Not the best way to handle your security infrastructure.

my feelings (1, Insightful)

Lord Ender (156273) | about 7 years ago | (#21015057)

The responsible adult in my thinks this is a terrible, anti-social prank, but the 14-year-old kid in me thinks this is awesome.

Drugs (0, Troll)

crabpeople (720852) | about 7 years ago | (#21015075)

"SWAT officers expected to find a victim shot to death, drugs and a belligerent armed suspect when they surrounded the home of an unsuspecting couple"

And if drugs were legal, they would have been dispensed by a licensed shop or market, not sold in a home. There would be no shootings over drugs, no belligerent armed suspects, and no home invaded under false pretenses. The problem here is the illegality and absurdity of the drug war.

Re:Drugs (5, Funny)

Grey_14 (570901) | about 7 years ago | (#21015253)

The problem here is the illegality and absurdity of the drug war.

Yeah, That's the problem with people hacking the 911 system to dispatch SWAT teams, good call.

Re:Drugs (2, Insightful)

Experiment 626 (698257) | about 7 years ago | (#21015313)

Or maybe if drugs were legal, the guy would have just made up a different crime instead to get the SWAT team to go to the house.

Mass Crime (0, Redundant)

benburned (1091769) | about 7 years ago | (#21015079)

hmm- this would be a good way to do a huge crime without being caught- one would hack into the system repeatedly with fake crimes then when one went to rob a bank or whatever there would be no police forces available to apprehend the real thief I guess i think way too hard about some of these things. :(

Jerk.... (4, Funny)

pablo_max (626328) | about 7 years ago | (#21015089)

I can not begin to tell you what a pain in the ass this was. You can not imagine how hard it is to tell your boss you are late for work because you are currently under siege from your the swat team. Totally messed up my morning.

Jail time need (5, Insightful)

moracity (925736) | about 7 years ago | (#21015115)

If this kid doesn't get jail time, it's just time to do away with all of our laws. What's the point?

The victimized family should bring a a civil suit and make sure they get a monetary judgement that docks his wages for years to come. If he gets away with it, we'll be hearing about him again.

all I want to know is... (1)

spiffmastercow (1001386) | about 7 years ago | (#21015117)

How did he find it? I mean, if I was designing an emergency response system, I would have it directly connected to the 911 call center and the dispatch center, with no internet connection..

Re:all I want to know is... (1)

east coast (590680) | about 7 years ago | (#21015263)

The article is pretty unclear as to the method. It nearly reads like this was a phone hack and at the same time they make it also seem like he was directly in control of the 911 system at the same time.

It's either poorly writen or the cops who reported the details somehow lost something in translation.

The police should be held accountable. (1)

kybur (1002682) | about 7 years ago | (#21015189)

TJX Corp was held accountable when hackers stole credit card data. This is a much more serious case of negligence on the part of the police department. Perhaps they should be banned from using the Internet?

Stupid Kid. Lucky Kid. (2, Informative)

Iphtashu Fitz (263795) | about 7 years ago | (#21015237)

Man what a stupid prank to be pulling. As previous posters mentioned, he should have at least sent SWAT to a McDonalds or WalMart and not a private home. 10 years ago a SWAT team here in Boston made a felony entry into the wrong apartment and ended up roughing up an elderly priest named Accelynne Williams so badly that he ended up dying of a heart attack. If this SWAT team had injured or killed any of the people in the house they responded to, even if it was a similar case of just triggering a heart attack, this kid probably would have been charged with murder or manslaughter.

Phillip Dick story? (2, Funny)

moankey (142715) | about 7 years ago | (#21015289)

Sounds like something out of a Phillip Dick story where nothing is seen as being wrong with the system even if the couple were killed. Acceptable losses or some other acronymed term, until one day one of the SWAT members realizes the prank is pulled on his own family only to realize its too late for him to warn them.
At which point the cog in the machine becomes the hero in various hollywood ways and somehow joins forces with the prankster that has some far reaching political message wrapped around his pranks.

Really risky hack (1)

Nonillion (266505) | about 7 years ago | (#21015299)

I can state with confidence, as another /. poster pointed out I wold have been shot if this prank had been played out on me. Someone using a ram to smash in my door would most certainly wake me up, and during the commotion, I would most certainly be killed as I pointed my weapon at the intruders. If you're going to channel your talents to do something like this, do it to someone who really deserves it. Of course, I would expect my family to sue for Billions for wrongful death.

Brazil (1)

peripatetic_nyc (1175421) | about 7 years ago | (#21015309)

Was his name Buttle?

Oh...so it was a "hacker" was it? (0)

Zapped.Info (1113711) | about 7 years ago | (#21015311)

Well...Just chalk this up as another excuse for law enforcement to use, when they come barreling into your house at 4:14 in the morning, throwing you to the ground, putting handcuffs on you while pointing a loaded gun at your head (No psychological trauma there...nah...not at all.) Perhaps they did this because the 911 computer "dispatched" them, or perhaps another agenda is at hand? Since when do we start blindly following orders from a computer screen to the point of terrorizing and arresting citizens? (If you've got handcuffs on you're arrested) If this story is true, then we've got some dark days ahead...days when the police(state) can ignore even our most basic rights and not be held accountable: Instead saying..."Uh...Duh...the computer made me do it...Damn those hackers!" Scapegoat anyone? I hear they make tasty barbeque.
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