Info@NationalCyberSecurity
Info@NationalCyberSecurity

What is swatting? Here’s what you need to know. | #schoolsaftey


You may have heard the term “swatting” after a call about an active shooter at a San Antonio high school Monday turned out to be a hoax. 

The incident began around 9:30 a.m. Monday, when the school district received an anonymous call threatening violence against East Central High School, located in southeastern Bexar County. Gunfire was audible in the background of the call, district officials said, so they put the campus on lockdown and notified law enforcement.

The Bexar County Sheriff’s Office, the San Antonio Police Department and other law enforcement agencies responded in force, surrounding the campus and snarling traffic. A search of the school found no evidence of a shooter. 

This is often the case with swatting.

Many may be unfamiliar with the word, but the FBI warned against the phenomenon as early as 2008.

Here’s what you should know.

What is swatting?

Swatting is when someone calls in a fake threat to police in hopes of drawing law enforcement — often including a SWAT team — to a specific location. It started as a phenomenon targeting hackers, politicians and celebrities. 

Criminals often use technology, like caller ID spoofing, social engineering or old-school prank calling to make the calls appear to be coming from somebody else.

ALSO READ: Student detained in East Central shooting hoax was a victim of ‘swatting,’ police say

Why you should care

In recent years, schools increasingly have become targets. During the spring semester, hordes of schools received threats that proved to be hoaxes. 

In April, Galen College of Nursing in San Antonio, Baylor University and Collin College experienced swatting incidents after police received calls of active threats and shooters on campus. All incidents were determined to be a hoax. That same month, a bomb threat was called into a middle school on the city’s North Side. 

Why is swatting a problem?

“These calls are dangerous to first responders and to the victims,” according to the FBI. “The callers often tell tales of hostages about to be executed or bombs about to go off.”

On top of drawing law enforcement resources away from other crimes across the area, officers may be in danger when they confront an unsuspecting resident. 

What is being done to combat swatting?

Recently, the FBI formed a national online database tracking swatting incidents nationwide. This database will facilitate information between hundreds of police departments and law enforcement agencies, according to NBC News.

Fortinet, a global leader in cyber-security solutions and services, said you can prevent swatting by: 

  • Increasing privacy and security settings on devices and social media accounts
  • Regularly changing passwords by using unique/strong characters
  • Turn on two-factor authentication
  • Avoid over-sharing personal information on social media and public websites



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