The expert says the increase in technology could lead to more swatting calls

SHARONVILLE, Ohio — America’s fascination with more technology available at your fingertips could lead to something many never expected.

“Unfortunately all this technology that brings all this convenience and benefit to society can be used by bad people to do things like this,” said cybersecurity expert Dave Hatter.

Eight Ohio schools were listed Friday, including Princeton High School. A 911 caller told dispatch that an active shooter was inside the school and had injured 10 students.

“They came into our classroom. Next to our classroom. He opened fire on the students. 10 students were injured next to our classroom,” the 911 caller told dispatchers.

The problem? The whole thing was a hoax.

“You’d be shocked at the things they’re capable of not only technologically, but they’re just disgusting scum,” Hatter said. “The lowest form of scum imaginable.”

Hamilton County District Attorney Joe Deters said in a statement that anyone involved in the prank had better be “ready for jail time.”

“The threat of a school shooting is every parent’s worst nightmare,” Deters said. “I can’t imagine how scared these parents and kids were today. Orchestrating a prank like this is beyond offensive. It’s stupid and completely illegal. Innocent people and first responders could easily be hurt. The “Law enforcement will find out who did this. And when they get caught, they better be ready for jail time.”

But Hatter believes that due to the number of swatting calls made on Friday, the culprit was likely someone calling from overseas.

“Unless it’s people in the U.S. who can be tracked down and prosecuted … if there really aren’t any consequences, why not more?” said the Hatter. “Especially if it’s led by an adversary of the United States who just wants to cause chaos, disruption, division in the US. Why shouldn’t there be more? It’s easy to do, hard to prevent.”

Hutter said the problem lies in how dependent society is on technology.

“Society is so dependent on this digital technology. So much of it was designed at a time when no one could imagine how it could be used like this,” he said.

With Friday’s incident, the call appeared to come from Princeton High School. The caller told dispatchers his number included a California area code.

Hatter said hackers who know what they’re doing can become almost undetectable. He said a hacker can “spoof” a phone number and then break into a virtual private network (VPN) to make it appear the number is coming from inside the school.

With smartphones, tablets and smart TVs, Hatter said there’s a chance that any device that students bring to a school, or that’s already inside the school, can be hacked.

“The more IOT or smart devices you connect, the more potential openings there are in the network and in the armor,” Hatter said. “That’s why it’s so hard again. All these devices offer an amazing convenience – they enable you to do things you couldn’t do five years ago.

“Do they have some kind of virus protection? Are they locked down so they’re harder to hack? Are they getting updates? If you’re not installing updates on these devices, you’re just waving a flag that says hey come hack me.

“What will the police department do? Wait a minute, I better figure out if this thing is an attempt at swatting or not. Of course not, which is why this problem is difficult to solve,” Hatter said.

This type of call swatting could be difficult to stop in the future.

“Until the underlying technology improves enough that you know the phone number isn’t the phone number, the place it says it’s coming from isn’t the place it’s coming from, then you throw in the deep fake stuff, I don’t know how you could stop that,” Hatter said.

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