The National Crime Agency (NCA) has launched a series of police raids on suspected hackers in the UK in a campaign called “Strike week.”
The BBC reports that 57 people were arrested, including alleged hackers suspected of being behind attacks on Yahoo, the US Department of Defence, and PlayStation.
A suspected hacker arrested in Leeds is believed to be a member of the Lizard Squad gang, which crippled the Xbox and PlayStation networks over Christmas.
Another person arrested as part of strike week was a 21-year-old London man who is suspected of being a member of the D33ds Company. That’s the group that hacked into Yahoo in 2012 and posted 453,492 passwords online.
The NCA also claims to have arrested a 23-year-old British hacker on March 4 who is accused of hacking into the US Department of Defence in June 2014. Once the hackers had gained access to the government database, they boasted online of their achievement, sharing this message 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 Defence has no Defenses.
The joint operation involved the National Cyber Crime Unit, regional police, the Metropolitan police, and the FBI helped by providing data that helped identify the alleged Lizard Squad member.
The NCA didn’t just target hackers behind well-known attacks, though. It also arrested people behind phishing attacks (where hackers impersonate well-known companies to get things like bank information), people who spread malware, and also companies that offered web hosting to known criminals. You can read the NCA’s full list of arrests here.
When police arrest someone suspected of being a hacker, one of the worst things that can happen is that their laptop or computer is put into sleep mode or turned off. It can make it extremely difficult to break through any encryption and find evidence. That’s why an NCA officer was tasked with keeping her finger on the trackpad of a laptop found during a police raid.