In a world where your personal details are easily found through a quick search online, we look at a growing trend known as ‘swatting’ which looks to exploit that information and have you suffering real-world consequences.
Youtube and Twitch Star, Ice Poseidon, has been back in the headlines recently with his Californian residence being subject to a raid by the FBI which lasted more than five hours.
At the time, details and rumours swirled as to the cause of the raid but clarity has seemingly been provided with Ice Poseidon, real name Paul Denino, just posting a video to his YouTube channel and its 772,000 subscribers.
In the video a dejected Paul goes on an expletive laden rant about the results of the FBI raid, the effects that the raid has had on his professional and personal life and the reason as to why the raid took place in the first place.
Paul explains that due to the restrictions that have now been imposed by the State of California in regards to his profession, a video gamer on the live streaming platform Twitch, he is effectively being forced out of his home and is now looking to re-locate to another state.
Sophisticated and dangerous criminal hacker
These events allegedly stem from an elaborate online scheme that looked to frame Mr Denino as a sophisticated and dangerous criminal hacker. If proven to be true then this raid by FBI officials would add to the already long list of high profile incidents cause by unidentified members of the online community.
Mr Denino has been on the receiving end of a worrying trend that is on the rise called ‘swatting’. Victims need only for their name and location to be released to suffer from swatting with the perpetrator only needing to make a phone call to your local police department with a story that would attract a heavily armed and dangerous response.
Prior to the FBI raid, Mr Denino made national headlines in the United States when he was the target of another swatting incident at Phoenix Sky Harbour International Airport. It was reported to police that Paul Denino and his travelling girlfriend had planted a bomb on the plane they had boarded bound for Los Angeles. Police then stormed the plane, removing them both before the plan was removed from the tarmac and the flight in turn, being cancelled.
Whilst Mr Denino was ultimately exonerated from any charges and ultimately no physical harm ever resulted from the incident, this is not always the end result as proven with the case of Andrew Finch in 2017.
The 2017 Wichita, Kansas swatting
Mr Finch, 28, was shot dead by police on the evening of December 28th outside of his home in Wichita, Kansas. Authorities were responding to an earlier call stating that a resident of the household had shot his father and locked up his brother and mother in a cupboard, effectively takin them as hostage. The caller went on to say he was in possession of a firearm and had poured gasoline throughout the house, threatening to set fire to the home.
This call was later found to be a hoax, the caller an impersonator and Andrew Finch, father of two, the deceased victim of another swatting incident. A 25 year old Californian resident was later charged with multiple counts of swatting, including the incident that lead to the death of Mr Finch. He was convicted and sentenced to 25 years imprisonment.
The spread of personal information is vast throughout the internet and it is important to remind ourselves of the damage that can be done by broadcasting this information on a public forum openly and regularly. Taking appropriate security measures and being educated about the dangers online can aid in the fight against these degenerates.
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