Crime

Swatting hacker uses Xbox to trick police

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

It was a several months ago when Lisa Yagerhofer of East Allen Township was home, eating dinner with her family, and the doorbell rang.

"I answer the door, I'm holding a dog, and there's a state trooper standing there with a gun to my face," Yagerhofer said.

The State Police were responding to instant messages sent to the local 911 system over the internet.

The message read, in part, "Please help. My dad just killed my 4 year old sister. He slit her throat. She's bleeding to death"

The message was complete with the Yagerhofer's home address.

The response was a team of squad cars on Lisa's lawn.

"There were about 15 of them. Lights. Sirens. Everything. The sheriff was here. The detective. They just swarmed our house," Yagerhofer said.

But the whole thing was a hoax.

Yagerhofer's personal information was compromised after Lisa's 16-year-old son Tyler played an on-line Xbox game with stranger.

That stranger turned out to be a hacker who cracked into Tyler's Xbox LIVE account and from there was capable of finding personal information like their home address, social security numbers, and credit card information just to name a few.

Northampton County DA John Morganelli says it is mostly young people committing these crimes, who simply do not understand the gravity of what they are doing.

"When you are going across state lines and using phones to call in criminal matters, you're implicating federal statutes. So it wouldn't surprise me that someone who does that would be subject to federal prosecution, as well as, state prosecutions," Morganelli said.

Meantime, Tyler has this warning for on-line gamers.

"If you are younger than me, I would suggest family settings on Xbox LIVE, but other than that, there's honestly nothing you can do," Tyler said.

The hacker swatted the Yagerhofers three times over the past year and wreaked havoc on their personal accounts.

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Tags:
pennsylvania, northampton county, hacking, crime, walter perez
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