A 17-year-old hacker from British Columbia, Canada pleaded guilty on Wednesday to 23 charges of extortion, public mischief, false police reports, and criminal harassment.
The teen had been targeting “mostly young, female gamers” who had resisted his advances and denied his friend requests on the popular video game League of Legends.
The hacker, whose name can’t be released because of his young age, had been shutting down the internet access of those who rejected him, as well posting their personal information online, and calling them repeatedly.
According to Tri-City News, the teen would tell the police that he was holding a family hostage, had napalm bombs, had killed someone in the house, and demand ransoms. The teen would do this to force police to send SWAT teams and police helicopters to his victims’ homes.
The practice, known as “swatting,” has become prevalent in the gaming community.
The hacker would brag about the pranks on social media, as well stream himself carrying out many of the pranks.
The most egregious case involved an Arizona woman, who withdrew from the University of Arizona in Tucson after the hacker threatened her and her parents. The hacker called the Tucson police, claiming he had shot his parents with an AR15 rifle, had bombs, and would kill police on sight.
This prompted a SWAT team to raid the woman’s home. He pulled the same prank five days later while the woman’s mother was visiting and then again on her parents’ house, where her father and brother were dragged out at gunpoint.
His harassment didn’t end there. He posted the woman’s parents’ credit card information online, sent his victim 218 simultaneous text messages, and hacked into her email and Twitter accounts.
His reign of terror peaked when he posted an eight-hour live stream on YouTube under the usernames “obnoxious” and “internetjesusob” of him swatting and harassing a victim in Ohio. People watching the stream notified police.
He was finally caught after a number of the “swatting” incidents from September through December were tied back to the same suspect, according to the Polk County Sheriff’s Office.
The hacker was well known to Canadian law enforcement and was already on probation for similar crimes in Canada. The hacker was reportedly a member of the hacker group Lizard Squad, known for knocking both Xbox Live and the Playstation Network offline in 2014.
After the hacker was arrested, police uncovered a number of other false reports sent out by the hacker, including a 2013 bomb threat to Disneyland.