Police received a call from Myles’s landline that a man had murdered his mother and was planning to do the same to his sister, according to the Toronto Star. But when police arrived at his apartment, they didn’t find anything sinister — just a software consultant who was a victim of “swatting.”
It seems Myles’s home phone, which he said had been disconnected for two weeks, was spoofed. A spoof attack allows hackers to use a person’s phone number, as well as other data, as their own. No one has been arrested in connection with Myles’s “swatting.”
This cybercrime is seemingly on the rise.
A family in British Columbia was “swatted” and mistakenly visited by a SWAT team this July. Louise Gray told CBC News that her son was targeted by a hacker after he posted a YouTube video. Their phone numbers, address and e-mails ended up on the Web. A similar attack happened to cybercrime expert Parry Aftab in New Jersey the same month.
Phone spoofing, and perhaps the alleged voicemail hacking by journalists from Rupert Murdoch’s News. Corp, has led AT&T to make password protected voicemail a default on all new accounts. This means users will have to enter a password when they check their messages, unless they turn the feature off, as Faster Forward reported.
“We wish that we did not have to make this change,” the company’s chief privacy officer Bob Quinn wrote Friday. “While there may be legitimate reasons for a caller to mask their phone number, broadly available commercial spoofing technology is wide open to misuse.”
The Truth in Caller ID Act of 200 made spoofing “for the purposes of defrauding or otherwise causing harm” illegal and subject to a $10,000 fine, according to the FCC.