A British and Dutch-led operation on Wednesday brought down a website linked to more than four million cyberattacks around the world, with banking giants among the victims, European law enforcement agencies said.
“Authorities in five countries including the Netherlands, Serbia, Croatia and Canada, with support from Police Scotland and Europol, targeted six members of the crime group behind webstresser.org,” Britain’s National Crime Agency said in a statement.
Cybercriminals used the website’s services, which could be rented for as little as $14.99 (12.31 euros), to launch so-called distributed denial of service (DDOS) attacks, which swamp targets with spam traffic and disable their IT systems.
British police searched an address in Bradford, northern England, and seized a number of items, while Dutch police, with assistance from Germany and the United States, seized servers and took down the website.
British police believe an individual linked to the address used the site, the world’s largest illegal DDOS seller, to hit seven of Britain’s biggest banks in November, forcing them to reduce operations.
“Stressers” services give users the ability to stress-test the resilience of servers, causing disruption to the target.
Police also arrested two suspects, aged 19 and 21 in Serbia and a third, aged 19, in Croatia, Serbian and Croatian authorities said in separate statements.
The Croatian national faced a sentence between “one and eight years in prison,” the Croatian interior ministry added.
– ‘Warning to all DDOS-ers’ –
Europol, which set up a command and control post in The Hague on Tuesday to coordinate the operation, said “further measures” would be taken against the online marketplace’s top users in Australia, Britain, Canada, Croatia, Hong Kong, Italy and the Netherlands.
“This could include arrests or just ‘knock-on-door’ operations but it depends from country to country,” Europol spokeswoman Claire Georges told AFP in The Hague.
“A significant criminal website has been shut down and the sophisticated crime group behind it stopped as a result of an international investigation,” said the NCA’s Jo Goodall.
“The arrests made over the past two days show that the internet does not provide bulletproof anonymity to offenders and we expect to identify further suspects linked to the site in the coming weeks and months as we examine the evidence we have gathered,” Goodall added.
Dutch national police’s Gert Ras was quoted in the NCA statement as saying the operation had had “an unprecedented impact on DDOS cybercrime.”
“This is a warning to all wannabe DDOS-ers… we will identify you, bring you to court and facilitate that you will be held liable by the victims for the huge damage you cause”.
But Steven Wilson, who heads up Europol’s EC3 Cybercrime Centre, warned in a statement that DDOS and other malicious online activities were on the rise, “victimising millions of users in a moment.”
Law enforcement cooperation needs to be “as good as” the collaboration between criminal gangs “to turn the tables on these criminals and shut down their malicious cyberattacks,” Wilson said.
Trump is ‘a profoundly lawless individual’: Presidential biographer tells Democrats to wake up and go after president
On MSNBC's "AM Joy" Saturday, in the wake of the Ukraine scandal, presidential biographer Bloomberg Opinion executive editor Tim O'Brien laid out how President Donald Trump's presidency has become a pure exercise in criminality — and how House Democrats need to treat this as the threat that it is.
"The Democrats are looking at this as a chess board," said O'Brien. "Republicans see it as a knife fight. They're not even trying to play chess. They've been playing politics at the electoral level and in the Congress by simply trying to rip the spine out of anybody who opposes them. The Democrats are trying to figure out what's the right thing. I honor that, but as long as they sit back and are more concerned about appearances or not upsetting the table, Republicans are going to run circles around them, both electorally and when it comes to Donald Trump."
Trump took out DNI head Dan Coats to install a new acting director in charge of whistleblowers: CIA veteran
Appearing on MSNBC's "AM Joy," a longtime veteran CIA official said the whistleblower, who ran to the inspector general with a complaint about Donald Trump asking Ukraine's president for dirt on Joe Biden, should expect the president and his aides to come after them.
Speaking with host Joy Reid, Jonna Mendez said she saw the first warnings signs that something was up in the U.S. intelligence community when the president forced DNI head Dan Coats and his top deputy out.
"Through the lens of someone who spent 27 years at the CIA, the thing that caught my eye instantly was Dan Coats' resignation follow by Sue Gordon," Mendez explained. "The fact that Dan Coats went into a meeting and said 'Sue, you've got to resign' and that she did, truncating a career that clearly hadn't reached its zenith."
GOP’s cancellation of presidential primaries could blow up in Trump’s face — here’s why
In recent weeks, Republican state party committees have been moving to cancel presidential primaries to prevent Never-Trump conservatives, like former Reps. Joe Walsh (R-IL) and Mark Sanford (R-SC) and former Gov. Bill Weld (R-MA), from challenging the president from the right. So far, Republicans in Arizona, Kansas, Nevada, and South Carolina have all announced they will scrap the voting process for 2020.