18-year-old Brit arrested in international raid on hacker-for-hire sites
An 18-year-old in Devon has been arrested by the UK’s National Crime Agency (NCA) following a series of international raids on DDoS-for-hire websites.
The international operation – dubbed Operation PowerOFF – saw the FBI, NCA, Europol, and Netherlands Police shut down 48 of the world’s most popular DDoS-for-hire sites.
DDoS-for-hire sites – also known as “booter” sites – offer tools and services that let criminals shut down websites by overloading them with fake requests.
The booter services let people who lack advanced cyber skills launch brute force attacks on businesses with a view to collecting ransoms in return for the restoration of services.
The websites offer customers various subscription packages at price points ranging from $10 to $2,500 a month.
The international operation replaced the booter websites with law enforcement splash pages explaining they had been seized and are no longer available for use.
The sites taken down include one DDoS-for-hire service that is suspected of having been used to launch more than 30m cyberattacks.
The 18-year-old Devon man arrested by the NCA sits alongside six other US individuals suspected of operating booter sites.
The authorities are now sifting through the booter sites’ customer data in pursuit of those who operated and used their services.
NCA cyber crime unit officer Frank Tutty said: “This operation has taken out a significant proportion of the DDoS-for-hire marketplace, removing booter services which are a key enabler of this criminality.”
“The perceived anonymity and ease of use afforded by booter services now means that DDoS has become an attractive entry-level crime, allowing individuals with little technical ability to commit cyber offences with ease.”
“The NCA’s Cyber Prevent Team works to identify such individuals who are on the cusp of cyber criminality before they commit more serious offences.”
“Users of these sites based in the UK have been identified and can expect a visit from the NCA or police in the coming months.”