HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT ) – Swatting, or calling in a fake emergency in hopes of goading a SWAT team response, has become a big threat, specifically in the gaming community.
Curse in Huntsville caters to gamers, especially those at the highest or even professional level. These people face unique challenges online — digital attacks against them.
Curse Chief Technical Officer Michael Comperda explains, “One of the most common things that happens these days are DDOS’s, where if somebody gets your IP address they can actually essentially take down your internet connections.”
But it can escalate to swatting for a gamer with just a few easy to obtain pieces of information. Comperda lists them off, “Your real name, your location, which you can get from an IP address, and then be able to call in like a police report, which essentially impacts your real life.”
Little things online could set someone off.
“I think they’re just really frustrated that they lost a match,” posits Comperda, “Or they might have a really big virtual ego. And they want to be able to impact that person.”
Curse specifically designed their voice communication program, Curse Voice, to help protect against things like swatting.
It’s that big of a problem.
After all, a lot of people even make their living by streaming their gameplay online. We’ve seen several high-profile cases of streams interrupted by swatting.
“It’s actually surprisingly easy to get someone’s real life identity,” says Comperda, “I mean, if you’re on Skype for example, you don’t even need to be a confirmed friend with someone. You can just look up their profile from their username, see their real name, see where they live, and even if you don’t know where they live, you can get their IP address and get the city and state they live.”
That IP address is really what gives gamers away.
“You have a home address, which is your street and your number,” explains Comperda, “And an IP address is the exact same thing except it lets other users connect directly to your internet connection to your house.”
A lot of gamers use voice chat when they’re online in team games.
Comperda points out, “If you use Skype, it uses a peer-to-peer network. That means when you actually talk to someone on Skype, you’re directly connecting to them.”
So the people at Curse, specifically designed Curse Voice to avoid that exposure. Comperda elaborates, “Our product, Curse Voice, is a client-server style application, so it protects you from IP address theft.”
That helps keep a gamer’s digital interactions digital.