Remember when the FBI issued a bulletin about the Sony hackers' threatening a media outlet? Turns out the threat was actually a thinly veiled joke made by David Garrett, Jr., a homeland security blogger from Knoxville, Tennessee. The punchline: David got to spend his New Year's Day being questioned by the Feds!
There are a couple of lessons to be learned here. The main one is not to make anonymous threats on the internet, especially when the FBI is involved and millions of dollars are on the line. They take all of those threats seriously, even if those threats are on Pastebin, and the only credible tie to the hackers in question is that those hackers also use Pastebin. (Makes you think twice about the FBI's assertions that North Korea was behind the Sony hack in the face of arguments to the contrary from cybersecurity experts, doesn't it?) David could've been in big trouble, even though he didn't really mean any harm:
Have to meet with the FBI soon. It's all a bit much, but understandable. Don't have a lawyer. No money for one. I have the next best thing.
— David Garrett Jr. (@DavidGarrettJr) January 1, 2015
The other lesson is to come clean. David did the right thing by admitting to writing the post right away and explaining everything to the Feds. It's a good thing he didn't have more time to dream about glory:
Now that I have a few minutes to reflect, I should have exploited this for fame rather than come clean right away.
— David Garrett Jr. (@DavidGarrettJr) December 31, 2014
But the first lesson is the big one. As David explained to one reporter, "[The FBI] said basically that, in the future, it's a good idea not to pretend to be someone they're investigating." It's a very good idea. [Fusion]