June 7, 2022

Netflix has a new documentary series airing next week — “Web of Make Believe: Death, Lies & the Internet” — in which Yours Truly apparently has a decent amount of screen time. The debut episode explores the far-too-common harassment tactic of “swatting” — wherein fake bomb threats or hostage situations are phoned in to police as part of a scheme to trick them into visiting potentially deadly force on a target’s address.

Image: Netflix.com

The producers of the Netflix show said footage from an interview I sat for in early 2020 on swatting and other threats should appear in the first episode. They didn’t specify what additional topics the series would scrutinize, but Netflix’s teaser for the show suggests it concerns cybercrimes that result in deadly, real-world kinetic attacks.

“Conspiracy. Fraud. Violence. Murder,” reads the Netflix short description for the series. “What starts out virtual can get real all too quickly — and when the web is worldwide, so are the consequences.”

Our family has been victimized by multiple swatting attacks over the past decade. Our first swatting, in March 2013, resulted in Fairfax County, Va. police surrounding our home and forcing me into handcuffs at gunpoint. For an excruciating two minutes, I had multiple police officers pointing rifles, shotguns and pistols directly at me.

More recently, our family was subjected to swatting attacks by a neo-Nazi group that targeted journalists, judges and corporate executives. We’ve been fortunate that none of our swatting events ended in physical harm, and that our assailants have all faced justice.

But these dangerous hoaxes can quickly turn deadly: In March 2019, 26-year-old serial swatter Tyler Barriss was sentenced to 20 years in prison for making a phony emergency call to police in late 2017 that resulted in the shooting death of an innocent Kansas resident.

In 2021, an 18-year-old Tennessee man who helped set in motion a fraudulent distress call to police that led to the death of a 60-year-old grandfather in was sentenced to five years in prison.

The first season of the new documentary series will be available on Netflix starting June 15. See you on TV!


24 thoughts on “KrebsOnSecurity in New Netflix Series on Cybercrime

  1. mealy

    About time Mr. Krebson got some screen, but when do you get your own show? A tech-world version of Dateline? XD
    Practice your Keith Morrison voice.

    Reply
    1. Steve

      Krebson xD

      His last name is Krebs. The blog is Krebs On Security.

      Reply
  2. Mahhn

    sadly, I think this will only encourage more of the same – exponentially.

    Reply
  3. Ollie Jones

    I’m grateful for your journalistic courage and your family’s support for it, Mr. Krebs. I suspect other readers feel the same way. Shining bright light on cockroaches makes then scuttle.

    I do have nightmares about my job where somebody says to me, “there’s a Brian Krebs on the phone, says he’s a journalist, wants to talk to you ….”

    Reply
  4. Andrew

    My favorite security guy is becoming a hollywood star!

    Reply
  5. Anon

    Always thought you’d fit better in The Twilight Zone show about all the possible horrors on internet.

    Reply
  6. sergi tolstoy

    Don’t we see enough of you on CBS Evening News and Face the Nation with John Dickerson, jus sayin

    Reply
  7. Swatting Victim

    I have been a victim of these same crimes by these same people. Swatting is attempted murder. It is also an attempt to harm the reputation of the person being swatted. Thank you, Brian Krebs, for speaking out. I do fear this Netflix series may make these crimes look attractive.

    Reply
    1. Lauren B

      While that’s not the intended audience of this program, That is always valid concern, sadly. I’m sorry for your past suffering. I wish there was a safe way to build awareness, motivate peace, and deter crime all simultaneously.

      Reply
  8. Laurie McAnulty

    “and when the web is worldwide” pity the vendor (Netflix) ignores this fact. Wonder if this will be available “worldwide”?

    And, confratulations Mr K

    Reply
  9. Modelapt

    I hope that show the chapter of team xecuter member gary bowser; where nintendo pay to doj for arrest people with hijacking skills; or the worldwide figure julian assange with “criminal and spy” charges in us.

    Reply
  10. Nimatashi

    Journalism is not always the cushy desk job of its (fictional) portrayals. Journalists are killed all too frequently pursuing their stories. A thank you from the digital boonies to Brian Krebs (and others) who go to bat to make the world safer for the rest of us.

    Reply
  11. pradeep reddy akkuluri

    journalism is not always the cushy desk job of its (fictional) portrayals. Journalists are killed all too frequently pursuing their stories. A thank you from the digital boonies to Brian Krebs (and others) who go to bat to make the world safer for the rest of us.

    Reply
  12. PHP

    Great to get out to the public.
    Lets hope there will not be too many copycats, and that injuring/killing unarmed citizens will become a penalizable crime, even in the US, where uniforms seems to be a legal excuse for breaking the law.

    Reply
  13. Ghost

    I hope they don’t dumb it down or make it look more glamorous than it is. But its Netflix of course they will.

    Reply
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