The UK’s National Crime Agency (NCA) has been running several fake DDoS-for-hire websites in an effort to infiltrate the cybercrime marketplace and collect information on individuals engaging in these types of activities.
The law enforcement agency has set up an unspecified number of websites that claim to allow users to launch distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks against a specified target.
These types of services, also known as ‘booter’ or ‘stresser’ services, have posed a significant problem to many organizations around the world, as they allow individuals with limited skills and financial resources to launch highly disruptive attacks.
The fake DDoS-for-hire websites run by the NCA were set up as part of an international law enforcement operation named ‘Power Off’. Last year, the same operation resulted in the seizure of 46 internet domains associated with booter services.
The NCA recently decided to replace the homepage of one of its fake websites with a page informing visitors that their information has been collected and that they should expect to be contacted by law enforcement.
“All of the NCA-run sites, which have so far been accessed by around several thousand people, have been created to look like they offer the tools and services that enable cyber criminals to execute these attacks,” the agency said. “However, after users register, rather than being given access to cyber crime tools, their data is collated by investigators.”
The identified users of the fake DDoS-for-hire websites who are located in the UK will be contacted by the NCA or police and warned about the consequences of their actions. Information about users in other countries will be passed on to their respective law enforcement agencies.
Given that minimal technical skills are required to launch DDoS attacks through booter services, it’s likely that many of the users of these websites don’t have the knowledge to hide their true identity from a well-resourced law enforcement agency.
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