Swatting scheme: Two charged in livestreaming police response, hacking Ring cameras
- Two people in Wisconsin, North Carolina have been charged for allegedly gaining access to Ring customers’ cameras by hacking their email accounts in a swatting scheme.
- ‘Swatting’ is when a bogus report is made to emergency personnel from a victim’s residence.
- The pair now share one count of conspiracy to intentionally access computers without authorization and additional identity theft charges for Nelson.
Two men who allegedly gained access to Ring home security cameras to live-stream a police response have been charged with ‘swatting’ in Wisconsin, North Carolina, according to federal prosecutors.
Swatting is a means of retaliation by making a false emergency report to summon first responders, including SWAT teams, to their victim’s addresses.
Kya Christian Nelson, 21, and Thomas Andrew McCarty, 20, were charged with one count of conspiracy of intentional unauthorized access to computers. Nelson has additional charges of two counts of intentional unauthorized access to a computer and two counts of aggravated identity theft.
The pair now face a total of 17 years in prison with Nelson for 12 years and McCarty for 5 years.
The Justice Department said Nelson is already in prison for an unrelated case in Kentucky. Last week, McCarthy was arrested in Arizona.
From November 7-13 in 2020, the two allegedly gained access to Ring devices by hacking their victims’ Yahoo! email accounts.
Authorities said that after gaining access to the victims’ Ring cameras, the two then allegedly reported a false emergency to authorities. The law enforcement agency’s response was then live-streamed on social media.
The pair also mocked their victims using their Ring devices.
Nelson and someone else was responsible for a call made on Nov. 8 to the West Covina, California police department claiming to be a child reporting her parents drinking and shooting weapons. When the authorities arrived, Nelson threatened and taunted the responding officers.
In a statement issued by Ring, they said, “Swatting is a serious crime, and those responsible for it should be brought to justice.” The statement further said that Ring takes the security of its customers extremely seriously and supported the FBI in its efforts to apprehend the culprits.
Ring added it made “two-step verification mandatory, conduct regular scans for Ring passwords compromised in non-Ring breaches, and continually invest in new security protections to harden our systems.” We are committed to continuing to protect our customers and vigorously going after those who seek to harm them.”
Similar cases in Flat Rock, Michigan; Redding, California; Billings, Montana; Decatur, Georgia; Chesapeake, Virginia; Rosenberg, Texas; Oxnard, California; Darien, Illinois; Huntsville, Alabama; North Port, Florida; and Katy, Texas have been reported.
Source: Fox News