A new kind of high-tech telephone fraud exploits a weakness in the way the 911 system handles calls from internet-based phone services. The attacks--called "swatting," because armed police SWAT teams usually respond--are often perpetrated by teens, and schools are among the targets of their malice.

In November, a teenage hacker from Worcester, Mass., pleaded guilty to a five-month swatting spree that included a bomb threat and a report of an armed gunman that caused two schools to be evacuated.

The Worcester case was just one in a series of recent attacks that has law-enforcement officials increasingly concerned. The incidents are virtually unstoppable,


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