Swatting accused an experienced hacker who abused powers, court hears

The 17-year-old Barrhaven boy on trial for swatting crimes across North America was portrayed in court on Friday as an experienced hacker who abused his online powers.

“I didn’t feel safe around him (on chats). He was too abusive with his power. He’d boot people off the Internet for no reason. He’d do it for fun,” an alleged victim told California police in an interview that was broadcast at trial.

The boy, now 15, told police in Stockton, Calif., in April, 2014, that he only knew the accused’s ‎first name and had never seen his face on Skype.

The boy said he met the accused on a Minecraft server and, after he said he was quitting his position as a permissions expert, someone first ordered $1,000 of pizza to his home and later sent in a fake 911 call to prompt a SWAT team to respond at the boy’s home.

“I still to this day do not know why he snapped,” the boy told police.

Testifying later in the day, the teen said he confronted the person he believed to be the accused in a call over Skype videoconferencing.

“All he did was laugh maniacally. Like it didn’t matter to him. That was obvious,” said the teen.

The teen said the same person he chatted with over Skype then started calling his home. Sometimes the caller used voice altering software; other times he wouldn’t. The teen said it was in those calls he recognized the voice of the accused who he had previously chatted with online.

It wasn’t until after his mother’s full name, social security number and birthdate were posted online and there was a fake 911 call to send police to his home that they started hanging up on the calls.

“We were at the same time scared and annoyed,” said the teen.

It got so bad the teen said he warned the office at his school that he had a “hacker in my life” and he might call the school.

The boy told police that he did communicate with the accused via Skype videoconferencing, but when asked by the California detective to describe him, the boy said he couldn’t.

“I can’t describe him, he’s Canadian. He lives in Canada,” the boy told police.

Under cross-examination by the accused’s lawyer, the teen testified that the person who tormented him had “amazing skill.” The teen said his objective isn’t to see the teen get put away in jail, only to prevent the suffering his family endured from happening to anyone else.

“Putting him away is not going to do anybody any good,” said the teen, adding he hopes the accused can be rehabilitated instead.

The Barrhaven boy whose identity is shielded by law is on trial for more than 30 charges of public mischief for a series of fake 911 calls across North America that had SWAT teams responding to schools and homes.

One of the fake 911 calls was for a bomb threat at a Barrhaven school. In that case, police say the accused “spoofed,” or duplicated, a classmate’s email and sent death threats to school officials. Police arrested the classmate and held him for eight hours before releasing him without charge after they confirmed his email address had in fact been spoofed.

Source: Ottawa Citizen

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