Technology

DDoS: Thirty-four arrested after international probe

A computer in a server room Image copyright Thinkstock
Image caption DDoS attacks target websites and other services connected to the internet

Thirty four people, including teenagers, have been arrested after an international police operation involving EU and US authorities.

The action targeted users of Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) cyber-attack tools.

Twelve of the suspects were arrested in the UK as part of an investigation led by the National Crime Agency (NCA).

Authorities across a total of 13 countries made the arrests between 5 and 9 December.

The NCA said that it had targeted users of software called Netspoof, a computer program that could direct huge volumes of internet traffic at websites and web servers in order to disable them.

Following the UK arrests, a 27-year-old man from Hamilton in Scotland was charged with offences under the Computer Misuse Act.

US suspect charged

As part of the international operation, a US suspect has been arrested and charged over a DDoS attack that knocked a San Francisco chat service's site offline.

Sean Sharma, a 26-year-old student in California, is enrolled in a master's degree programme at the University of Southern California.

Mr Sharma could face up to 10 years in prison. His case is being investigated by the FBI.

"DDoS tools are among the many specialised cyber-crime services available for hire that may be used by professional criminals and novices alike," said Steve Kelly, unit chief of the FBI's International Cyber Crime Coordination Cell.

"While the FBI is working with our international partners to apprehend and prosecute sophisticated cyber-criminals, we also want to deter the young from starting down this path."

The international investigations, in which a total of 101 suspects were interviewed and cautioned, were supported by Europol's European Cybercrime Centre.

House searches were conducted and notifications were sent to parents, according to the agency.

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