Think “swatting” is an anonymous and consequence-free way to get back at gamers who piss you off online? Think again.

A regional organised crime unit in the UK has reportedly arrested an 18 year old man in Southport, Merseyside in western England connected with several “swatting” incidents. He was also linked to the denial-of-service attack on Sony’s PlayStation Network, all thanks to a close collaboration between the UK’s South East Regional Organised Crime Unit (SEROCU) and the US’s Federal Bureau of Investigation.

That collaboration – and collar – means perpetrators of cyber crimes aren’t as protected by being far away from the scene of their crimes as they may have once thought.

Swatting, in case you’re not familiar with the term, is the act of reporting a gamer’s real-life physical address to the police as the scene of crime serious enough to warrant a SWAT team coming out and kicking the door down. This happens quite often in the US, usually caused by disgruntled gamers looking to bring some real-world repercussions into the lives of other gamers who piss them off.

Swatting is common enough to have been caught on camera by gamers streaming their online sessions through services like Twitch, capturing clearly the moment heavily-armed SWAT teams burst into their homes looking for criminals.

Like this incident last September, where a SWAT team burst in on a home in Colorado during a live stream:

With the very real possibility of things going wrong and innocent people quite possibly getting hurt, it’s no wonder law enforcement agencies are working harder than ever to bring perpetrators of such idiocy to justice, to the point where they’re actively collaborating across national boundaries to catch the wrongdoers.

So think before you do something similar – just because you’re not in the same country doesn’t mean you’re going to get away with it.

[Source – SEROCU.org, image – YouTube]
Deon got his first taste of PC gaming at the tender age of 11 when his father bought an 8088 XT, ostensibly to "help him with his homework". Instead, it introduced him to Leisure Suit Larry, King Graham, Sonny Bonds and many more, and Deon has been a PC gamer and hardware enthusiast ever since. He landed his first professional writing gig in 2006 at a prestigious local PC magazine, a very happy happenstance as he got to write for a living about things he loves - tech, PCs, gaming, and everything in between. He's been writing about it all ever since, and loves every minute of it.