Cybersecurity Awareness: Swatting

Learn more about swatting, a cyber-attack centered around location sharing.
October 19, 2018

Mike Wilson, originally from Eastern Oregon, started as a Senior IT Security Analyst here at the College in September 2018. Wilson recently retired from the United States Navy where he spent over 20 years in the IT and Security fields. His role at CWI is to strengthen the College’s network security posture by identifying vulnerabilities, providing recommendations for safe practices, and ensuring we are all made aware of cybersecurity threats.

October is National Cybersecurity Awareness Month (NCSAM). To help raise awareness and educate members of the college community on the importance of cybersecurity, Wilson will be offering tips and information. This week’s topic is swatting.

Q: What is swatting? 

A: Think social engineering is just for phishing? Think again. Swatting is an attack centered around location sharing. Bad actors use your location to call the police, claiming that the victim has committed a serious crime. Sometimes, the intent behind these attacks are merely pranks – but the consequences are almost always severe. 

Q: Why should you care? 

A: Unlike many cyber-based attacks, swatting has clear, physical, and immediate consequences. Imagine police raiding your home on a swatting bomb threat tip!  These attacks can easily result in injury and arrest, and sometimes even death to the victim. Your location is your business. Text or call friends the old fashioned way if you want to meet up, share vacation photos only after you’ve gotten safely home, and remember to turn off location services on your devices when you don’t need them.

Contact Mike Wilson at michaelwilson1@cwi.edu or 208.562.3193 with questions or for more information. Stay tuned for more cybersecurity tips in future issues of Bert’s Alerts.