Hackers using home smart devices for 'swatting' attacks: FBI

By Sahil Bansal | Views: 1198

The US Federal Bureau of Investigation said hackers are hijacking smart home security systems by using stolen email passwords to live stream swatting incidents.

In caution to people who use smart home gadgets, the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has said that wrongdoers are hijacking victims' smart devices, including video and audio competent home surveillance devices, to carry out "swatting" attacks.

“Swatting” is a term used to describe a hoax call made to emergency services, typically detailing a prompt threat to human life, to draw a reaction from law enforcement and the SWAT team to a particular area.

The FBI said it is warning users of smart home devices with cameras and voice capabilities to utilize complex, one of a kind passwords and enable two-factor verification to assist ensure against “swatting” attacks.

Also, "Smart home device producers recently informed law authorization that offenders have been using stolen email passwords to access smart devices with cameras and voice capabilities and carry out swatting attacks," it elaborated.
"Swatting" may be motivated by revenge, used as a form of harassment, or used as a prank, but it is a serious crime that may have possibly deadly results.

Offenders often use spoofing technology to anonymize their own phone numbers to make it appear to first responders as if the emergency call is coming from the victim's phone number.
"This enhances their credibility when communicating with dispatchers," the FBI said.
To gain access to smart devices, offenders are likely to take advantage of customers who re-use their email passwords for their smart devices.

They use stolen email passwords to log into the smart device and hijack features, including the "live-stream camera and device speakers".

They then call emergency services to report a crime at the victims' residence.

As law enforcement responds to the residence, the offender watches the live stream footage and engages with the responding police through the camera and speakers.

"In some cases, the offender also live streams the incident on shared online community platforms".

The FBI said it was working with private sector partners who manufacture smart devices to advise customers about the scheme and how to avoid being victimized.

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