On Friday morning, British police arrested an 18-year-old man they believe was involved in the attacks on the Sony Playstation and Microsoft Xbox online gaming networks over Christmas.
The South East Regional Organised Crime Unit (SEROCU) say they have been working closely with the FBI, and have now arrested a Southport resident “as part of an investigation into ‘swatting’ and computer hacking offences.” (‘Swatting’ refers to putting in a false report to emergency services in order to make a SWAT team turn up at the victim’s address.)
Over Christmas, Microsoft’s Xbox Live online service and the Playstation Network were both knocked offline by DDoS (Dedicated Denial of Service) attacks, with a group called Lizard Squad claiming responsibility. The group went on to launch a “stresser” tool, allowing others to pay to carry out DDoS attacks, claiming that the Christmas Day attacks were just “publicity” for the launch, according to the Daily Dot’s William Turton. They have also attempted to attack the anonymising Tor network.
The press release about the Southport arrest makes direct reference to the “denial of service attack of Sony Playstation and Xbox systems in 2014.” However, they declined to tell Polygon whether they believe the unnamed suspect is a member of Lizard Squad.
“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.”
Vinne Omari, another Lizard Squad member, was arrested by British police in December, the Daily Dot reports. A Finnish teen has also been questioned over ties to the hacking group, according to Polygon.
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