National Crime Agency, a London based law enforcement agency, has arrested as many as 56 individuals over the last week for various cybercrimes.
Among the arrested lot was a 23-year-old male for breaching the satellite communications systems of the US Department of Defense on 15 June 2014. The hacker had leaked “non-confidential contact information” of about 800 users, which included name, title, e-mail addresses and phone numbers. Additionally, the hacker could manage to get information about 34,000 devices, including the unique IMEI numbers that identify a specific phone.
The arrestees included people as young as a 16-year-old, who caused havoc in recent months through attacks on as many as 350 websites. He was arrested from Leeds, Yorkshire, and is a suspected member of the Lizard Squad, a hacking group that breached Xbox Live and the PlayStation Network, according to BBC.
“This arrest underscores DCIS commitment and the joint ongoing efforts among international law enforcement to stop cyber criminals in their tracks, DCIS Special Agents will use every tool at their disposal to pursue and bring to justice those that attack the Department of Defence,” said Jeffrey Thorpe, a special agent at the US Department of Defense Criminal Investigative Service.
Another booked individual was a 20-year-old from Hackney, London suspected of committing a £15,000 phishing attack. The others included a 21-year-old man for his alleged involvement in D33Ds Company hacking collective – they perpetrated the 2012 yahoo attack wherein more than 450,000 email addresses and passwords were made public.
The week-long operation of the UK police was assisted by the US bodies like FBI and DoD in nabbing these cybercriminals. Altogether, 25 separate operations were conducted spanning England, Scotland and Wales.
One of the team members of the operations explained the modus operandi of the police. The entire operation was swift. The priority was to seize computers before they could be shut or data encrypted. Thus, when they received the command, “Go! Go! Go!”, there was hardly any sign of aggression or combat. The team moved equipped with data collecting gadgets.
“The 56 arrests around the country this week are a result of the essential partnership activity with law enforcement, industry and government that is at the heart of fighting cybercrime,” said Andy Archibald, Deputy Director of the NCA’s National Cyber Crime Unit.
He further added, “Criminals need to realise that committing crime online will not make them anonymous to law enforcement. We are continuously working to track down and apprehend those seeking to utilise computers for criminal ends, and to disrupt the technical networks and infrastructures supporting international cyber crime.”
The NCA, during the week, has informed more than 50 firms about the vulnerabilities of their servers and set up pop-up shops to advise public about cyber-security and safety.