The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler


Posted on | May 27, 2012 | 85 Comments

The news reached me by phone tonight, just as I was trying to get to sleep: Someone has targeted Red State’s Erick Erickson with the same dangerous hoax that had previously been used against Patterico.

UPDATE: Erickson writes at Red State:

Last week we spent a lot of time writing about Brett Kimberlin and the incident involving blogger Patterico where someone spoofed his phone number and told 911 he had shot his wife.
Tonight, my family was sitting around the kitchen table eating dinner when sheriffs deputies pulled up in the driveway.
Someone called 911 from my address claiming there had been an accidental shooting.
It wasn’t nearly the trauma that Patterico suffered, but I guess the Erickson household is on somebody’s radar.
Luckily it was two sheriffs deputies who knew me and I had already, last week, advised the Sheriff’s Department to be on the look out for something like this.

It’s no secret that I sharply criticized Erickson during the 2012 presidential primary campaign, but last week he mentioned me in writing about the Kimberlin case, which was a gracious gesture. This situation is more important than individual personalities.

UPDATE II: Instapundit: “Really, if the goal is to keep people from writing about Brett Kimberlin, this doesn’t seem like the way to do it.”

Indeed, given that Erickson is a CNN contributor, this incident certainly should provide the mainstream media a solid reason to stop ignoring the Kimberlin case.

UPDATE III: Patterico: “Anyone else think CNN is going to talk about SWATting now?”

UPDATE IV: Now the top thread at Memeorandum.


  • Pathfinder’s wife

    Well why don’t you go ask them yourself?  Cut through the middleman I always say.

  • Pathfinder’s wife

    And that also leaves units deployed to scenes that aren’t scenes, which may leave real scenes open — in which people could be killed.

    While I’m not well versed on the legalities, doesn’t this step up to the line of domestic terrorism?
    In a lot of regards it does follow tango’s MO.

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  • Grumpa Grumpus

    Well, yes you can.
    Just route things through countries that won’t co-operate with the US. You’ll be able to back trace it that far but no farther.

    Of course, the server routing. table’s FIFO, which means a (let’s call it a “routing request” for simplicity’s sake…) a routing request enters the “tail end” of the table and will eventually roll-off the “front” – so if you hacked in and lifted a copy of the table you’d be able to trace through that node…

    You’d have to be quick, though! The amount of memory dedicated to the table is finit, so a busy routing table (not on a major hub…) turns over in 5-10 minutes on a slow day and a major hub within seconds.

    Bring an order to release routing table records to an internet hub and you’ll hospitalize the operator from laughing at the silliness…

    Of course, if you could get an order to proactively keep track of routing tables… and you could do that to enough places so the perp couldn’t simply avoid passing through the “tainted” nodes… you might have something.

    But “SWATting”? Come on now! The chumps who do that only do it because they don’t know how to *really* give someone a hard time: change or delete their *entire* online presence. Credit, medical (thanks BO, you moron!), utilities… AND every database you’re in. Give me a week and you’ll vanish (it isn’t hard, !really!).

    This guy strikes me as a “chump” (Old-timey talk), or what my Grandson’s generation would call a “script baby”: he frequents blackhat cafes and picks up cookbook methods to harm. Fits the mindset of an Anarchist’s Cookbook bomber!

  • Grumpa Grumpus

    An example w/medical records:

    BloggerA writes nasty-but-true things about you. You decide to “make an example” of BloggerA BO-style. All medical records are online because Nanny State loves us so.

    BloggerA is a Conservative who’s allergic to a class of antibiotic. Severe anaphylactic shock results when they’re injected with this class of antibiotic.

    Hack access to ConservativeA’s medical records (use “Social” or real hacking: your choice…). Access his records and either delete the whole thing (easy to fix), change a few things (harder to fix and requires intelligence – this in itself is a limit), OR only delete the entry documenting the allergy! (easy AND deadly!).

    This is to explain why I mentioned medical records in the prev. comment, and why I’m upset about such “an obviously ?good? thing” as online medical records.

  • PaulLemmen

    “Big Bang Theory” fan?  The reference to the bag of burning dog poo is fresh on my mind from a rerun yesterday.

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  • SDN

     Grumpa Grampus, there was a story linked through Instapundit a couple of months ago about a documented (and easy) way to remotely override the dosage programmed into someone’s insulin pump.

  • Adobe_Walls

    They, reasonably, have no fear of being caught because they know LE isn’t trying to catch them. Even if the local jurisdictions where the SWATtings take place want to pursue the matter the agencies with the necessary resources won’t help.

  • Adobe_Walls

    Just as Blacks cannot be raaaaacists, conservative bloggers cannot be victims of terrorism

  • Bob Belvedere

    In many respects we’re on our own.

    I think one of the things we can do is put together an informational packet on SWATting [both hard copy  and digital] that includes examples, definitions, etc. and hand it off to several people you trust so that they will be able to turn over the info if anything happens, fatal or not.

    Perhaps one should include a copy of one’s basic medical records in the package.

  • Bob Belvedere

    Dianna: That’s for me – master of the pun – to know…

  • Shawny

    I get what you’re saying.  But if there’s no way to prove who it is then there’s also little chance of proving it wasn’t you in order to defend yourself.  And maybe that’s exactly where we’re headed.  So the question is how in the hell you protect or defend yourself against that kind of attack.  And I REALLY want to know what kind of possibly access or permissions may have been extended to Kimberlin in his 3 year association with the State Department. 

  • Shawny

    lol…..nope, History and Military channel fan.  I was thinking of lesser forms of malicious mischief from much more innocent times.

  • Shawny

    Exactly, and that’s why there are laws against it and ways for the police department to track it down. 

  • Shawny

    Now THAT’S what I’m talkin’ about!  Thanks.  The callers sick need to gloat, need to relive the event to make himself feel big and powerful is what will get him caught. 

  • richard mcenroe

     The DOJ FBI?  Good one.

  • PaulLemmen

    I will confess to having done that very thing in the middle 60’s when I lived in a suburb of Detroit.

  • Grumpa Grumpus

    Thank you!
    I’ll find it and enjoy reading about it!
    I didn’t know about this w/the insulin pump, or that someone had figured it out, but that it can be done is unsurprising.

    Being one of those odd birds who *has* to figure out *how* things work, I knew that the more we network everything – from refrigerators to toilet paper dispensers to toothbrushes to pacemakers to insulin pumps to egg timers to heating/cooling controls in houses – the more it is possible to use these things to cause mischief.

    I won’t say much about it, but a favorite method of bypassing security is passing a “code bonb” through the buffers of units that talk to each other. Each checks for “evil” code from the “outside” (ie, the network), but usually *not* from a neighboring device.

    So to reset the temperature of a freezer you might send the codebomb to a networked toothbrush with instructions to “push” the packet to the freezer.
    The packet is “network incoming” to the toothbrush, so it checks the packet and see no danger – toothbrushes don’t change temperature so the codebomb’s just “noise” and is pushed to the freezer.
    The freezer is receiving a packet from a “friendly” device, and so (to reduce processing overheard…) doesn’t stringently check the packet! And so it can be done.

  • Bob Belvedere

    Awww, Wombat…now my next comment in this thread don’t make no sense!

  • Bob Belvedere

    We can just tell ’em we had a Blackberry thingee in our ears.

    I have worked near a homeless shelter and when this whole hands-free cell phone thing started, I couldn’t tell who were the loons and who were the normal people anymore – they were all, it appeared, talking to themselves.

  • Bob Belvedere

    I’ve been wondering if the first incident with that fellow Mike in New Jersey wasn’t a test run.

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  • Proof

     Yeah. I know! I was just thinking maybe low enough down the food chain, you might find someone who still cared about justice.

  • LS News Group

    While I commend you and Red State as well as for starting to report these “caller-ID spoofing” incidents and the harassment of people who speak out, but I must ask this question: Why is it that these acts are only now important or worthy of reporting when they affect someone that is known or is a friend of these publications?

    I have to ask this question because we have reported the use of these tactics since 2008 not to mention individuals use of others personal information to access government information systems.

    Its interesting that the hacking of peoples accounts are only worthy of reporting if the person is someone who is liked or who has something to offer those reporting it.

  • Wombat_socho

     You have, eh? Post links or STFU. I don’t like what you’re implying here.

  • Mr. Luigi

     It’s Larry Sinclair.

  • Wombat_socho

     I don’t care if it’s Rupert Murdoch.

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