Hoax murder call targeted Islington home of Mumsnet co-founder


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Armed police were called to the Islington home of Mumsnet co-founder Justine Roberts after receiving a hoax murder call.

In a “swatting” attack, where a prankster gives false information about a crime that requires armed officers, police were dispatched to the house just after midnight last Tuesday. They had received a report that a man had murdered a woman.

It happened after Mumsnet, a parenting network website for swapping advice, came under attack by hackers who accessed user information. A Twitter account named @DadSecurity claimed responsibility, Ms Roberts said.

A Metropolitan Police spokesman said this was followed by a second call, during which the caller stated he had members of his family held in a room. This call was judged as requiring a firearms response.

The spokesman said: “Local officers and firearms officers attended the address and carried out an assessment. Two people resident at the address were spoken to. The incident was treated as a hoax and the police response explained to those at the address.

“Detectives from Islington CID have investigated the hoax call; no suspects have been identified at this time, however enquiries continue.

“No complaint has been received.”

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In a message to Mumsnet users on Tuesday, Ms Roberts said of last week’s incident: “Our servers were bombarded with requests, which required our internet service provider to massively increase server capacity to cope. We were able to restore the site at 10am on Wednesday, August 12. Meanwhile a Twitter account, @DadSecurity, claimed responsibility, saying in various tweets ‘Now is the start of something wonderful’, ‘RIP Mumsnet’, ‘Nothing will be normal anymore’ and ‘Our DDoS attacks are keeping you offline’.

“To add to the ‘fun’, it seems @DadSecurity also resorted to swatting attacks. Swatting is a criminal practice in which someone makes an emergency call to the police claiming that a crime is taking place at the house of the intended victim, in order to get them to send a swat team to the address.

“An armed response team turned up at my house last week in the middle of the night, after reports of a gunman prowling around. A Mumsnet user who engaged with @DadSecurity on Twitter was warned to “prepare to be swatted by the best” in a tweet that included a picture of a swat team, after which police arrived at her house late at night following a report of gunshots. Needless to say, she and her young family were pretty shaken up. It’s worth saying that we don’t believe these addresses were gained directly from any Mumsnet hack, as we don’t collect addresses.”

All Mumsnet passwords were reset on Tuesday.