Hackers hijack IoT devices to joke on affected users: FBI

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has issued a security alert regarding a swatting campaign that also involves the hijacking of any Internet of Things (IoT) devices available to search victims of these attacks.

Swatting is a kind of a bad joke in which someone pretends to be a victim of a crime, called on emergency services to send law enforcement to an individual’s location ensuring there is a life-or-death situation. Needless to say, those responsible for spending these jokes can be prosecuted by the authorities for false accusations.

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In its alert, the federal agency makes it clear that any home using IoT devices could be attacked: “Smart home device manufacturers have alerted to a campaign in which cybercriminals use stolen passwords to access these systems and carry out swatting attacks.” The FBI notes that authorities and manufacturers are working together to raise their voices about this fraudulent campaign and provide the best security recommendations to potentially affected users.

Law enforcement agency phone operators will also be trained to try to detect these incidents: “The FBI is also working to alert the front line of response to this threat,” the alert says.

For users, we recommend enabling multi-factor authentication on their IoT devices to prevent them from being exposed to hackers; because email accounts are highly susceptible to data breach incidents, the agency recommends that users use a mobile phone number as a means of multi-factor authentication.