57 suspected hackers were arrested in the UK early March in a week-long operation, spanning England, Scotland and Wales, led by London-based National Crime Agency (NCA), the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the US Department of Defense (DoD).
According to the NCA, a 23-year-old man in the West Midlands was arrested on suspicion of hacking the DoD in June 2014. By breaching DoD’s the satellite communications systems, he could access the names, titles, email addresses, and phone numbers of around 800 people as well as the unique IMEI numbers for over 34,000 devices.
Following the breach, the hacker posted a threat on Pastebin: “We smite the Lizards, LizardSquad your time is near. We’re in your bases, we control your satellites. The missiles shall rein upon thy who claim alliance, watch your heads, ** T-47:59:59 until lift off. We’re one, we’re many, we lurk in the dark, we’re everywhere and anywhere. Live Free Die Hard! DoD, DISA EMSS: Enhanced Mobile Satellite Services is not all, Department of Defense has no Defenses”.
A 21-year-old, suspected of partaking in the D33Ds Company attack on Yahoo! in 2012 stealing and posting over 400,000 email addresses online, was also arrested. A 16-year-old suspected member of Lizard Squad, who took part in attacks on as many as 350 websites, was arrested from Leeds, Yorkshire.
Other arrests were made in relation to various other cybercrimes, including network intrusion and data theft from multinational companies and government agencies, Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks, cyber-enabled fraud, and malicious software and virus development. A 20-year-old from Hackney, London, was arrested on suspicion of committing a £15,000 phishing attack, while a 22-year-old was detained on suspicion of developing and distributing malware.
“This arrest underscores DCIS [Defence Criminal Investigative Service] 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 Defense,” said Jeffrey Thorpe, a special agent at the US Department of Defense Criminal Investigative Service.
Andy Archibald, Deputy Director of the NCA’s National Cyber Crime Unit, 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”.