Hackers have been pulling "swatting pranks" on unsuspecting victims lately. Singer Justin Timberlake is the latest victim to get swatted. The Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) was deployed to Timberlake's home after a 911 call reported a burglary took place.
Swatting is when hackers are somehow able to trick the 911 emergency service system into sending out a SWAT team to a person's home. Police were sent to Timberlake's Los Angeles home when an unidentified caller reported intruders. In the elaborate hoax, the caller claimed that four men broke into Timberlake's home, firing two shots and escaped with a box of red blinking lights.
To execute the swatting pranks, hackers may combine the use of caller ID spoofing, social engineering, phone phreaking or old fashioned prank calls. Typically, in swatting pranks, a caller would place a call to 911 using a spoofed phone number so it can't be traced.
Within the past couple of weeks,a number of celebrities have been victims of swatting pranks, including Sean "Diddy" Combs, Paris Hilton and Rihanna. Last year, Ashton Kutcher of all people, host of MTV's prank show, Punk'd, was swatted.
Thankfully no one was harmed or killed as a result of these swatting pranks, but it takes away from the time law enforcement spends fighting real crimes. The LAPD has been responding to numerous swatting pranks and plans to take action against whoever is committing these pranks.
"We take all these calls seriously. When we catch this person we will prosecute them," LAPD spokesman Bruce Borihanh said.
These crimes have become really popular in Hollywood lately and TMZ reported that the same hackers who recently exposed celebrity financial information are taking credit for the swatting prank spree.