A Facebook executive was the target of a swatting hoax that resulted in armed police arresting him and searching his home as they investigated a false report of an active shooter and hostage situation with pipe bombs, Palo Alto, California, Police Department officials said.
The incident began a little after 9pm on Tuesday when someone using an unknown number identified himself as a Facebook administrator who reported that he had shot his wife and taken his children hostage, the company officials said in a news release. sentence. The male caller continued to say that he had planted pipe bombs and planned to harm the police if they came to the residence.
The call led to a “special police response” which included trained crisis negotiators. They use the public address system to contact people in the building. Two residents remained outside as police searched the home. Police eventually determined that no shots had been fired, no pipe bombs had been set off, and there were no children in the home.
According to this news from The Palo Alto Daily Post, the CEO of Facebook is the head of cybersecurity at the social media giant. The release also said the caller stayed on the phone with police as they responded and was briefly detained as police searched his home.
So-called swatting events are often considered sports in hacking circles. In fact, they are violent crimes that have limited resources and have sometimes led to police shooting and killing targets. As swatting crimes have grown more common, many police departments have become better trained in responding to them.
Facebook released a statement that read: “We thank the city of Palo Alto for their quick and thoughtful response. They were quick to recognize this and we are happy that our colleague and his family are safe.”
Facebook declined to identify the executive or to confirm that he works in cybersecurity.