Fox 35 News‘ Dave Puglisi consulted Clinton Pownall on how to prevent swatting and what to do if you are victimized.
Swatting is a harassment tactic that carries a high risk of violence. Swatters use doxing, the practice of stealing and broadcasting personal information, to deceive law enforcement into dispatching a heavily armed response team to their victim’s address.
Swatters use caller ID spoofing, social engineering, TTY, and phreaking techniques to maintain anonymity while making it appear that their call is coming from elsewhere. If doxed, swatters will use their victim’s information to trick law enforcement into believing the call is coming from the victims themselves.
Since swatting weaponizes your personal information, the best defense against swatting is to protect your data.
- Use multi-factor authentication
- Change passwords often and use a different complex password for each login
- Use a password management program
- Remove personal contact information from Google search results
- Connect to the internet via a VPN to hide your IP address
- Avoid revealing potentially identifying information online
Download a list of Computer Business Consultants’ Security Best Practices.
Clinton Pownall has been an innovator in the IT field since 1990. First gaining exposure during his six-year service as a decorated Weapons Systems Technician in the U.S. Navy, he went on to obtain a Bachelor of Science in Computer Engineering. After founding Computer Business in 1996, he was one of the first to pioneer Voice-over-IP technology using satellite communications.
As a member of the Florida Police Chiefs Association and the joint Florida Sheriff’s Association, he advises law enforcement, government agencies, and businesses on cybersecurity. He is also actively involved with the U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA).