|Police storm home of anti cyber-bullying campaigner
after hoax call that man had killed four people and was holding a hostage
Daily Mail | July 26, 2011
Police stormed the home of a cyber-bullying lawyer after receiving an elaborate hoax call saying a man had killed four people and was holding another hostage.
SWAT teams descended on the quiet suburban home of Parry Aftab in Wyckoff, New Jersey, following the call from hackers who had planned the revenge hoax against the prominent internet security campaigner.
Hackers had orchestrated the plot by cloning Mrs Aftab's phone number and making the chilling 911 call - before 30 armed officers stormed the house in a dramatic three-hour stand-off.
After waiting for instruction from the supposed killer - who had demanded $10,000 and a getaway car - police stormed the home but found it empty as Mrs Aftab was out of town.
SWAT teams had trained automatic rifles on the property and stormed
it after throwing tear gas through the window, but got inside to find only
the family cat on its own.
It is thought Mrs Aftab had been targeted by members of the controversial online community '4chan' after the lawyer spoke out against cyber bullying last week on 'Good Morning America'.
The campaigner has often been in direct opposition to online community members who believe the internet should be uncensored.
After speaking out on cyberbullying last July, Mrs Aftab was pranked called and had her Wikipedia page vanadalized by users thought to be from 4chan.
The SWAT team call-out to her house is the latest incident of 'swatting', a practice commonly used by cybercriminals where prank calls see police arrive at people's homes with SWAT teams.
Media commentator Mrs Aftab is said to have apologised to her neighbours
for the dramatic non-existent stand-off on Sunday afternoon, and is now
working with police to try to trace the call.
'This is not a harmless prank. Any 8-year-old I know could have done this, and it does hide the identity of whoever's sending it if it's done the right way.'
Wyckoff police Chief Benjamin Fox said: 'While we're all out at this scene, God forbid there's a second, real scene somewhere else.
'You're taking the law enforcement resources from something that could be more serious at another location.'