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5 Jan 2023

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Swatters Used Ring Cams to Stream Victims and Taunt Police

Photo credit: iStock

Recently, swatting – a dangerous prank call to police to get a SWAT team sent to a victim's home – has been rising. This malicious activity is now even more dangerous, with perpetrators using Ring doorbell cameras to watch victims and taunt law enforcement.

Ring recently released a press statement regarding the use of their cameras for swatting. According to their statement, "Swatting is a terrible crime, and we condemn it and are actively working to help police investigate, prosecute and prevent this from happening in the future.”

In 2022 alone, there is over twenty swatter attacks, covering places like Flat Rock, Michigan; Redding, California; Fresno, Decatur, Georgia; Billings, Montana; Richmond, Virginia; Rosenberg, Texas; Darien, Illinois; Oxnard, Alabama; Florida; Huntsville, and Katy.

Ring (a popular doorbell company) implemented mandatory two-factor authorization (2FA) for popular doorbell devices in 2020 to protect against future instances where email could be hacked.

However, the option wasn't an effective strategy for the victims since their email accounts were also hacked. Authenticator apps or physical security keys are preferred for two-factor authentication over email or SMS-based systems.

“We are proactively working with police departments across the country, who have requested our assistance in helping them find and bring to justice the perpetrators of this dangerous prank." Ring added

Swatting can have devastating consequences, with victims facing not only physical harm but psychological trauma as well. While this is a serious issue, it is made worse by perpetrators streaming victims with Ring doorbell cameras, taunting them, and law enforcement.

In response to this concerning trend, Ring has implemented new policies to help combat swatting.

The company has established "a process that requires police officers to provide detailed information about the case before they can access the video from Ring cameras."

Additionally, Ring states that they "are working with law enforcement agencies to develop training programs that help police understand how to best use Ring when responding to emergencies."

Ring also provides helpful resources for Swatting victims, such as step-by-step guides for preventing Swatting and assisting law enforcement in their investigation.

Also Read: Why BlackBerry Company Transition from Iconic Cellphones to Cybersecurity

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