An automated swatting tool known as Torswats is wrecking havoc across the United States. A dangerous addition to the already horrendous US swatting epidemic, the AI swatting service charges users to send threats to American schools, businesses and more.
Swatting is a dangerous attack in which a person calls in a fake bomb threat or similar crime that results in a SWAT team being deployed to an area. The action, oftentimes done as a “prank”, often ends in the death of a person or persons.
Since the term was first coined by the FBI in 2008, the rate of swatting has increased exponentially. In September 2022, over 90 fake reports of school shooters sent fully-armed SWAT teams rushing into American high schools with no perpetrator in sight.
Discovered by Motherboard, the Torswats service appears to use AI-generated voice clones to create fake swatting calls. For a small cost, users can pay the service to send SWAT teams to high schools, hospitals, houses and more.
Hosted on the instant messaging service Telegram, the AI swatting service charges just $75 to close down a school with a bombing or shooter threat. For $50, a user gets an “extreme swatting” which sends armed police to an individuals’ house.
Since the rise of social media, swatting has become a major issue for online influencers and celebrities with multiple Twitch streamers being swatted numerous times. The AI swatting service has negotiable prices for “famous people and targets such as Twitch streamers.”
The Motherboard exposé reveals that the swatting service generates realistic phone calls for specific locations to bait police into sending armed forces.
“Hello, I just committed a crime and I want to confess,” one call to police says. “I’ve placed explosives inside a local school,” it continues before specifying the address of Iowa’s Hempstead High School.
Torswats is far from the only dangerous attack to use AI voice clones. Recently, an Arizonan mother received a fake kidnapping call that used an AI voice clone of her 15-year-old daughter. The AI kidnapping scam is believed to have used social media videos to perfectly replicate the child’s voice to create the kidnapping scenario.
“It was completely her voice. It was her inflection. It was the way she would have cried!” the mother explained. “I never doubted for one second it was her. That’s the freaky part that really got me to my core.”
These forms of AI voice clones have also been used in online hate campaigns against a number of celebrities. AI voices, which have already started to replace human voice actors, were used to manipulate the voices of celebrities such as Emma Watson to recite bigoted hate speech.
AI voice cloning tools such as ElevenLabs.ai have become easily accessible online, leading many to steal the voices of celebrities to make them say whatever they want. While there are multitudes of comedic videos using these AI clones, many are far more nefarious.