Security Experts:

UK Teen Arrested For PlayStation, Xbox DDoS Attacks

An 18-year-old was arrested this morning in the United Kingdom on suspicion of being involved in the distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks launched against Sony's PlayStation Network and Microsoft's Xbox Live over Christmas.

The man has not been named, but the South East Regional Organised Crime Unit (SEROCU) reported that its Cyber Crime Unit arrested the suspect in Southport, a town in Merseyside, England.

SEROCU has worked closely with the FBI on investigating the DDoS attacks launched against Sony PlayStation and Xbox by the hacker group known as the Lizard Squad.

In addition to computer hacking offences, the suspect was arrested for swatting, the act of tricking an emergency service into dispatching SWAT, police and other units to a targeted location based on a false report. Swatting has become increasingly problematic in the United States. While many people see it as a prank, it’s in fact a serious offense for which a 34-year-old was recently sentenced to five years in prison.

British authorities have seized a number of electronic and digital devices from the 18-year-old arrested “on suspicion of unauthorised access to computer material contrary to section 1 of Computer Misuse Act 1990, unauthorised access with intent to commit further offences contrary to section 2 of Computer Misuse Act 1990 and threats to kill contrary to Section 16 of Offences against the person Act 1861.”

“This investigation is a good example of joint law enforcement cooperation in relation to a type of criminality that is not restricted by any geographical boundaries,” said Craig Jones, head of the Cyber Crime Unit at SEROCU. “We are still at the early stages of the investigation and there is still much work to be done. We will continue to work closely with the FBI to identify those to who commit offences and hold them to account.”

The Lizard Squad has not made any comments on the arrest on their official Twitter account by the time this article was published, but in an earlier tweet, they wrote, “the punishment for everything we've ever done would be at most 1 week in a nice hotel-like prison with a gym, pool, etc.”

Late last year, SEROCU arrested 22-year-old Vincent Omari for his alleged involvement in the DDoS attacks on Sony PlayStation and Xbox Live. Omari, who has been released on bail until March 10, has denied being part of Lizard Squad.

In Finland, police questioned a 17-year-old using the online moniker “Ryan.” The suspect, believed to be Julius Kivimäki, was not arrested.

The Lizard Squad launched the attacks against Sony and Xbox to promote a new online DDoS service called Lizard Stresser, which is said to run on hacked home routers.

view counter
Eduard Kovacs (@EduardKovacs) is a contributing editor at SecurityWeek. He worked as a high school IT teacher for two years before starting a career in journalism as Softpedia’s security news reporter. Eduard holds a bachelor’s degree in industrial informatics and a master’s degree in computer techniques applied in electrical engineering.