In Evansville, Indiana, a Police SWAT team has executed a search warrant on a home in full tactical gears. The reason: threats perpetrated against local Police forces over the internet, threatening the officers lives, their family, including the mention of home-made bombs. The Police needed no more to quickly find what Internet address was used to send the threats, and what physical address it was linked to.
But when they executed the search warrant -with flash bangs (sounds/light grenades designed to disorient) and all- they found an innocent family that had no idea of why this was happening. Shortly after, the Police realized that they were misled by the IP address from the threat message, and that they got the wrong folks.
It turned out that it was the unsecured (no password required) WiFi password of this family that allowed a nearby teenager to use their address to post the threats. The young man was eventually tracked down, and arrested – without the use of flash bang this time. The Police did some “recon” work and spotted kids in the second house, so they went for a softer entry.
In any case, this highlights the fact that IP addressed are not a reliable thing to find out who’s guilty. However, they can be handy to point out the local vicinity of an event. Granted, this could have happened with a fake caller ID as well, but securing your WiFi access is very easy on modern routers, and it could save you from a world of hassle. [watch the SWAT entry on Tristate home page]