FILE – A Ring doorbell camera is displayed outside a home in Wolcott, Conn., on July 16, 2019. Two Amazon-owned companies — Ring and Hollywood studio MGM — are teaming up to create a TV show in the mold of “America’s Funniest Home Videos” using viral footage from Ring’s doorbell and smart-home cameras. The half-hour show, called “Ring Nation,” will premier in syndication on Sept. 26, 2022, MGM said. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill, File) Jessica Hill/AP
Pair from Wisconsin and North Carolina charged in Ring doorbell ‘swatting’ ruse
Ryan King December 19, 10:26 PM December 19, 10:26 PM Video Embed
Two men have been indicted after allegedly calling in false reports to police, known as swatting, and for tapping into Ring home security cameras illegally to broadcast police raids online, prosecutors announced Monday.
Swatting is a harassment technique in which callers send law enforcement to an innocent person’s address under the guise of an emergency situation. Kya Nelson, 21, from Wisconsin, and Thomas McCarty, 20, from North Carolina, are facing a charge of conspiracy to intentionally access computers without authorization during the scheme.
“The defendants then allegedly accessed without authorization the victims’ Ring devices and transmitted the audio and video from those devices on social media during the police response. They also allegedly verbally taunted responding police officers and victims through the Ring devices during several of the incidents,” the Justice Department explained in a press release.
Nelson was also slapped with two counts of aggravated identity theft and two counts of intentionally accessing a computer without authorization. He has already been incarcerated in Kentucky for a separate case, and McCarty was arrested in Arizona last week, per the Justice Department.
If indicted, the defendants could face up to five years behind bars for the conspiracy to intentionally access computers without authorization count. For the aggravated identity theft charges, Nelson could face a mandatory two-year term per count and up to five years for accessing a computer without authorization charge.
Both McCarty and Nelson embarked on their alleged scheme from Nov. 7-13, 2020. The duo gained access to the devices by hacking a Yahoo email that belonged to the victims, prosecutors explained.
Shortly thereafter, the FBI issued a public service announcement imploring users of smart home tech to use complex passwords to stave off would-be intruders.
Around that time, authorities uncovered similar swatting occurrences across the countries, including in California, Michigan, Georgia, Alabama, and more.
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