The U.K.’s National Crime Agency has detained six teenagers suspecting of launching distributed denial of service attacks against gaming companies.
According to the NCA, the six teens (ranging in ages from 15 to 18) were arrested for using Lizard Stresser, a tool that allowed them to take down websites for up to eight hours at a time. The alleged targets of their DDoS attacks included retailers, a "leading national newspaper," a school and multiple gaming companies. Bloomberg reports that Amazon, Sony, and Microsoft were a few of the affected companies.
Lizard Stresser, the NCA said, was created by Lizard Squad. Lizard Squad is the group that took PSN and Xbox Live offline during the past holiday season. They only stopped the attack after being offered premium membership to file-sharing site Mega by founder Kim Dotcom.
Lizard Squad has also claimed responsibility for DDoS attacks against many other companies including Blizzard and Riot Games. They even called in a bomb threat on John Smedley, former president of Sony Online Entertainment. After the bomb threat, the FBI confirmed they were investigating the group.
The NCA report says that the teenagers purchased Lizard Stresser using "alternative payment services such as Bitcoin." They did so in order to hide their identities but apparently that didn't work.
Officers from local police units in the UK are also visiting 50 addresses linked to registered users on the Lizard Stresser website. Most of the people receiving visits aren't suspected of carrying out DDoS attacks. Nonetheless, authorities want to warn them of the potential consequences of cybercrime. Tony Adams, head of investigations at the NCA’s cybercrime unit, hope they can convince some potential offenders from committing any wrongdoing:
One of our key priorities is to engage with those on the fringes of cyber criminality, to help them understand the consequences of cyber crime and how they can channel their abilities into productive and lucrative legitimate careers.
Adams also noted that the Lizard Stresser tool can be purchased for a "comparatively small fee." That's awfully concerning, considering how much damage these DDoS attacks can cause to businesses and institutions.
On their (latest) Twitter account, Lizard Squad said that the arrests won't stop them from launching future attacks. Instead, it seems to be encouraging them to do more and to keep distributing Lizard Stresser: