The seizure is a part of a coordinated operation dubbed Operation PowerOFF conducted in collaboration with the UK, Europol, and the Netherlands.
On Wednesday, December 14th, the US Department of Justice (DoJ) announced seizing 48 domains and charging six suspects for being involved in Stresser, aka Booter services.
These services offered malicious actors a platform to carry out DDoS attacks (distributed denial of service attacks).
The seizure is a part of a coordinated operation dubbed Operation PowerOFF conducted in collaboration with the UK, Europol, and the Netherlands. The operation is targeted against globally active DDoS-for-hire infrastructure.
Seized Domains Details
According to the DoJ, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) seized 48 domains offering to conduct DDoS for hire services on behalf of other cybercriminals in exchange for payment in cryptocurrency.
The seized websites reportedly claimed to offer the service of testing the resilience of web infrastructure but actually offered DDoS for hire services. The platforms had targeted victims worldwide, including in the USA. Their key targets were government agencies, educational institutions, and gaming platforms.
According to the DoJ’s press release, millions of users were targeted via these platforms. Just on one platform (IPStressercom), over a million registered users carried out at least 30 million DDoS attacks between 2014-2022.
What are Booter Platforms?
Booters are digital platforms that threat actors can carry out DDoS attacks against IoT devices and websites after paying a fee to boot off their target from the internet.
Further, users of these platforms can seek help in launching powerful DDoS attacks and flooding the targeted networks/computers with information so that the system stops functioning and has to go offline.
According to the FBI, “established booter/stresser services” provide an easy platform to threat actors for conducting DDoS attacks and “obscure attribution of DDoS activity.”
Who are the Suspects?
Along with seizing the domains, the FBI has charged six individuals suspected of involvement in operating the seized platforms. The charged suspects include the following:
- Joshua Laing (32)
- John M. Dobbs (32)
- Shamar Shattock (19)
- Cory Anthony Palmer (22)
- Angel Manuel Colon Jr. (37)
- Jeremiah Sam Evans Miller (23)
The defendants are charged with running stresser services and violating the computer fraud and abuse act.
DDoS attacks – A Growing Concern
DDoS attacks are a growing concern among businesses and organizations around the world. These malicious cyber attacks involve flooding an organization’s network with large amounts of traffic, making it difficult or impossible for legitimate users to access the services they need.
While DDoS attacks can be difficult to prevent, there are several steps organizations can take to protect themselves against such threats. The first step is to ensure that all software and applications used by the organization are updated regularly with the latest security patches.
Organizations should also consider investing in firewalls and other security solutions that can detect and block DDoS attacks before they have a chance to affect operations. Additionally, having security protocols in place for authenticating user accounts is important in order to ensure that malicious actors cannot gain unauthorized access.