The UK police organized crime unit is investigating swatting and computer hacking offenses but cannot comment on whether the person arrested is a part of Lizard Squad.
An 18-year-old man was arrested this morning in Southport, England today on suspicion of unauthorized access to computer material and knowingly providing false information to law enforcement, the South East Regional Organized Crime Unit stated. SEROCU, with the support of the National Cybercrime Unit, is working with the FBI in an investigation of the distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack on the PlayStation Network and Xbox Live over the holidays.
The PSN and Xbox Live experienced major outages on Dec. 25. The self-proclaimed hacking group Lizard Squad claimed it was responsible. To do this, it had to infect legitimate websites and distribute a program on thousands of ordinary computers to attack servers, bringing them to a halt.
SEROCU cannot comment on the investigation and whether the arrested 18-year-old man is associated with Lizard Squad. SEROCU has seized “a number of electronic and digital devices” for examination.
Craig Jones, SEROCU’s head of the cyber crime unit, is optimistic about what this investigation in coordination with the FBI means. “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,” Jones said.
The FBI is investigating swatting, in which people involve law enforcement in hoax calls. Jones said the swatting incidents in SEROCU and the FBI’s investigation have found the hoax calls were made through Skype. SEROCU is developing specialist investigative capabilities to reduce risk to the public.
“Cyber crime is an issue which has no boundaries and affects people on a local, regional, and global level,” Jones said.
DCC Peter Goodman, national policing lead for cyber security at the Association of Police Officers, said this arrest is significant on the national and international stage. “The cyber crime investigative capability I am overseeing across the Regional Organised Crime Units increasingly allows policing to undertake such complex investigations as a networked specialist resource, and in collaboration with international law enforcement partners, as in this case the FBI. This arrest demonstrates that we will pursue those who commit crime with the false perception they are protected within their own homes or hiding behind anonymous online personas.”
Law enforcement has been slow to adapt to cyber crimes, but this arrest shows agencies are aware of harmful activity online and are taking steps to combat it.