Since Saturday at least 20 different U.S. passenger planes have been targeted by bomb threats on Twitter, and federal authorities say even more threats were delivered via social media during that same period but were not publicized.
At least eight threats were posted on Twitter Tuesday from three different accounts.
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On Saturday, two planes were escorted by fighter jets to Atlanta’s airport after bomb threats were made via Twitter. A day later, a Delta Air Lines jet from Los Angeles to Orlando was diverted to Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport after a threat was made on Twitter.
Authorities are comparing it to SWATting:
While such threats are not new, they said, the high number in a short period forces them to choose between informing the public and inspiring copycats.
They said the activity was akin to the sporadic outbreaks of “Swatting,” in which pranksters try to get SWAT teams to respond to a location where no hostage or other threatening situation is actually occurring.
Swatting was widespread in the L.A. area in 2013, and many celebrities were victimized. Calls or computer messages came into police departments claiming a celebrity was being held at gunpoint, leading to an armed response and creating the potential for injuries.
The LAPD dealt with the issue by refusing to acknowledge or publicly comment on the cases.
Here’s the video report:
We’re told the FBI is on the job. Good luck to them. I’m past the point where I have a high degree of confidence in the ability of the FBI to solve cybercrimes. Maybe they’ll solve these particular crimes, and maybe they won’t. It may depend in part on whether the assigned agents are slugs or talented and skillful operatives; both types exist in the FBI. Success will also certainly depend on some degree of luck.
But what appears certain is that random people behind a computer keyboard can apparently hit a few keystrokes and ground a plane. That should concern everyone.