A local expert in cyber security is cautioning the public about a concerning online service that facilitates swatting incidents. This service, called the “Swatting and Bomb Threat Service” on the dark web, allows buyers to pay a small fee to have a caller falsely report a bomb or active-shooter threat to homes, businesses, or schools.
Cyber security consultant Caleb Barlow warns that the service can be used for nefarious purposes and that anonymity is a significant benefit to the user. Additionally, many of these services are operated by individuals located outside of the United States. While the Massachusetts State Police are aware of these swatting services, Barlow stresses the importance of informing parents, educators, and law enforcement officials of their existence.
Last month, over a dozen Massachusetts schools received false swatting calls, part of a broader hoax that affected the entire country. Law enforcement training must also include educating officers to recognize the possibility of a swatting event, according to former Boston Police Superintendent-in-Chief Dan Linskey.