As useful and convenient as the internet can be, it can also sometimes be a dangerous place. Cybercriminals are constantly creating new ways to cause chaos, whether through malicious DDoS attacks, or more recently swatting attacks. These types of attacks can be extremely detrimental, and it’s important that users are aware of them and how to protect themselves.
Law enforcement officers and victims have been injured or even killed during these attacks. Swatting also takes away the capacity of law enforcement to attend to real violent emergencies. It’s disturbing to know that there are so many people with malicious intent on the internet. For this reason, we must protect ourselves at all times. Thankfully, Smartproxy has an extensive range of residential proxies, including a German proxy network that you can employ to protect yourself. Let’s take a closer look at how that would work.
What is a swatting attack?
Swatting attacks involve malicious persons making fake phone calls to emergency services to report a severe violent crime such as a bomb threat, a shooting, or a hostage situation in order to dispatch a Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) unit to an unsuspecting victim’s address to attend to the emergency.
Hackers then gain access to their victim’s smart home devices and home surveillance audio and camera equipment to watch the whole drama unfold. In some cases, these malevolent hackers or swatters have streamed the whole thing live on social channels. Swatters do this for various reasons, but they mostly do it as part of a prank or a revenge scheme.
Swatting isn’t funny at all since swatting attacks have had some dire consequences.
How do swatters get your information?
We have all been warned to be more vigilant with our passwords, IP addresses, and personal and financial information. But most of us don’t really pay much attention to these warnings. This is because we’re more concerned with the convenience factor than taking the necessary security steps.
We’re too lazy to create strong unique passwords for each different account. As such, we often use one password for many online social accounts. We don’t use other protective measures like a German proxy or a VPN to disguise our IP and location because it just sounds like too much work. Swatters and cybercriminals know this and will take advantage of our tendency to choose convenience every chance they get.
Location-specific proxies will fool swatters into thinking that you’re accessing the internet from Germany when you’re elsewhere in the world. You can also use a proxy to access geo-locations which will enable you to access blocked content. There are many country-based residential proxies available.
Below are the most popular methods swatters use to get access to your personal information:
There are many people that post their private information on public social media feeds and platforms. Hackers look for locations of businesses, home addresses, phone numbers, and photos exposing many personal details, places of employment, family information, and private documents online to use against their victims.
Social media sites
Social media can be hazardous if you’re not careful. Millions of people post their private information on social media websites and applications that share their location, post the details of a new apartment they’re renting, a house they bought, a car they bought, and much more. All the information you make public online is at risk of being used against you. Any of this data can be used by swatters.
Social engineering is a popular tactic swatters use to get information from you. It has been known that they will pose as someone you may generally trust, like an authority figure, a technical support agent, or a customer service officer. They may call you or email you and try to pressure you to give them your personal information like your home address, IP address, passwords, financial information, and more. It must be mentioned that this tactic can be used in any scenario where they think you may be vulnerable.
What are brute-force attacks?
This is a tactic swatters use to obtain your confidential and sensitive information like passwords, PINs, and usernames. These attacks involve using a bot or script to guess the required information until it gets it right.
For example, a swatter with the right tools will be able to access all your accounts in a matter of seconds if you have used a weak password (like your child’s name or your birthday) and you’ve repetitively used this password in all your online accounts. Research has suggested that a brute-force attack can unlock an eight-digit password in approximately six hours.
Typically, swatters will continue to try and crack the password using your credentials until the site blocks them or until they’ve cracked your password. Once they get blocked, they’ll move on to the next site and try their luck there. Some swatters have been known to use powerful tactics to conceal their identities, and once they gain access to your smart devices and home surveillance systems, they have absolute control.
How to protect yourself
The best way to protect your home and your security is to employ a high-quality proxy along with anti-malware software to conceal your IP address and protect your internet connection. In addition, a proxy server will encrypt all your internet transactions and prevent anyone from seeing your internet activities.
The second thing you must do is to create passwords that are more than eight characters long that include numbers and symbols. Ensure the characters are non-sequential and try to include two-factor authentication as far as possible. Lastly, change your passwords regularly and never use one password for more than one account.