A 22-year-old New Jersey man has been sentenced to more than 13 years in prison for participating in a firebombing and a shooting at homes in Pennsylvania last year. Patrick McGovern-Allen was the subject of a Sept. 4, 2022 story here about the emergence of “violence-as-a-service” offerings, where random people from the Internet hire themselves out to perform a variety of local, physical attacks, including firebombing a home, “bricking” windows, slashing tires, or performing a drive-by shooting at someone’s residence.
Two U.S. men have been charged with hacking into the Ring home security cameras of a dozen random people and then “swatting” them — falsely reporting a violent incident at the target’s address to trick local police into responding with force. Prosecutors say the duo used the compromised Ring devices to stream live video footage on social media of police raiding their targets’ homes, and to taunt authorities when they arrived.
A Florida teenager who served as a lackey for a cybercriminal group that specializes in cryptocurrency thefts was beaten and kidnapped last week by a rival cybercrime gang. The teen’s captives held guns to his head while forcing him to record a video message pleading with his crew to fork over a $200,000 ransom in exchange for his life. The youth is now reportedly cooperating with U.S. federal investigators, who are responding to an alarming number of reports of physical violence tied to certain online crime communities.
Three men in the United Kingdom were arrested this month after police responding to an attempted break-in at a residence stopped their car as they fled the scene. The authorities found weapons and a police uniform in the trunk, and say the trio intended to assault a local man and force him to hand over virtual currencies.