"Swatting," the Hip New Griefing Trend, Sends the Cops to Xbox Live Mod's House

Illustration for article titled Swatting, the Hip New Griefing Trend, Sends the Cops to Xbox Live Mods House

Cops in Sammamish, Wash. are super pissed after being sent to a home here by a 911 call claiming someone inside had claymore mines and hostages. The caller turns out to be a prick seeking revenge on an Xbox Live moderator.

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Rolling Johnny Law up to someone's doorstep just to cause them trouble is called "swatting," apparently, and the FBI is tracking about 100 such cases of it nationwide. It has ties to video gaming, as well, already happening in Oregon and Florida to people who got into Xbox Live arguments with extra-antisocial bastards instead of just the regular-strength ones.

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In this case, it happens that the victim works for Xbox Live, and told police his job was to "catch and shut down hackers."

Evidently he dun goofed at some point and so that's why last month (this has just now come to light) Sammamish police got several emergency 911 text messages around 4 in the morning claiming that "2 armed Russian males" had broken into a home, "shot my son ... and they have Claymore mines." The texts also warned of a "flashing red device" in the home.

LOL, say you, how could the cops take that seriously? Cops take everything seriously, it's partly why they have all that cool battle gear. About half-a-dozen police cars went screaming to the door with guns drawn before the homeowner, rousted from sleep, came out and calmed everything down.

The Sammamish police chief believes the griefer hacked into a 911 text messaging service to pull off the stunt, and he's furious. "We have officers responding lights and sirens to a call they think is an emergency in progress and they get there only to find out it's a hoax," he said.

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Note to hackers/griefers/griefackers: Washington's legislature is working on a bill to make harassing a 911 operator, which includes swatting, a crime. Microsoft is headquartered in Redmond, Wash.

Hacker's Hoax Leads Police to Swarm Xbox Live Employee's Home[KOMO-TV, h/t Jesse]

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You can contact Owen Good, the author of this post, at owen@kotaku.com. You can also find him on Twitter, Facebook, and lurking around our #tips page.

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DISCUSSION

Well even with this just beeing a hoax i think the police reaction had been kinda... hefty?

Imagine the call would have been real, if those dozen cop cars would have pulled up infront of that house with sirens and screeching tires they would instantly have a pretty serious hostage situation and lost their element of suprise.

I dunno how stuff like this usually get's handled, maybe i'm watching too many movies. But i allways had been of the opinion that in a hostage situation the police will sometimes make use of the element of suprise when the hostage takers haven't realized yet that the police had been alarmed.

Such a plan is pretty much impossible if you roll up with your whole department and a light show telling everybody you are coming... maybe the cops are watching too many bad movies?