CNN’s Wolf Blitzer became the latest public figure to become the victim of a “SWATting” attempt. “SWATting is when a hacker spoofs a phone call or text message from the target, pretending that they are in danger. Police and/or SWAT teams may respond expecting a dangerous confrontation, often terrorizing the unsuspecting victim. NBC News contributor Ryan Seacrest fell prey to the scam earlier this year.
Luckily, the person targeting Blitzer did so on Saturday night, and the CNN anchor was not in his Maryland home. The Washington Post has the details:
In the case involving Blitzer, the person or people behind the fraud wrote some form of text message, Starks said. The message was set up to seem like it was from Blitzer himself, and it included his address. It appeared to have been sent through a mobile phone company’s “relay” system, which is part of an arrangement to pass on urgent messages to the police’s emergency communications center, Starks said. But exactly where the message originated remains unclear, he said.
“We don’t know where these people are. They could be in New Zealand,” Starks said. What will happen next in terms of an investigation remains unclear as well, Starks said. “We’re trying to determine what kind of source it came from.”