FBI arrests man suspected of orchestrating dozens of “swatting” calls

The US government has criminally charged a Virginia man for helping to organize dozens of “swatting” attacks and bomb threats made against a variety of targets in the United States and Canada. The man allegedly belonged to a group which coordinated via IRC and Tor hidden services to target prominent gamers, journalists, and government officials.

John William Kirby Kelley. (credit: Alexandria Sheriff’s Office)

The group’s online chats often had racist overtones, with comments suggesting antipathy toward Jews and black people. In one case, the group made a fake bomb threat to the Alfred Street Baptist Church, a predominantly African American church in Alexandria, Virginia.

Security reporter Brian Krebs was one of the first to report on the arrest of defendant John William Kirby Kelley. Krebs was the target of a swatting call he believes was organized by the group.

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