UK teenager held in global hacking probe

Officers examining "a significant amount of material" following searches at his home.


    British police, investigating a series of computer hacking attacks on international companies and intelligence agencies,  have arrested a 19 year-old man in eastern England.

    London's Metropolitan Police, working with America's FBI, said on Tuesday they had arrested the teenager in the town of Wickford, close to the British capital London, on suspicion of computer misuse and fraud offences.

    He is being investigated in connection with an attack on a website run by the British police Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA), which targets organised crime in Britain and overseas, police said.

    His computer is being checked for other possible attacks, including those against Japanese electronics company Sony.

    "The arrest follows an investigation into network intrusions and Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks against a number of international business and intelligence agencies by what is believed to be the same hacking group," the London force said.

    It said forensic officers were now examining "a significant amount of material" following searches at the home where the arrest took place.

    Al Jazeera's Fault Lines looks at cyber war

    The teenager was being held at a central London police station.

    Hackers have carried out a series of attacks on international firms and organisations in recent weeks, including the International Monetary Fund, Lockheed Martin Corp, Citigroup Inc, Google and Michaels Stores.

    The loosely organised hacker group Lulz Security has claimed hacks into websites owned by Sony as well as the US Public Broadcasting Service and Fox.com.

    SOCA's website, which is used purely for public information, went down for a short time on Monday before being brought back up.

    Like many others, it was likely a denial-of-service attack in which Lulz hackers bombarded the site with so many messages that it went offline.

    Hackers would not have had access to confidential data or information about ongoing operations, a SOCA spokesman said.

    Lulz has sought to punish Sony for failing to secure data and released the data of its customers, exposing them to potential identity theft.

    The group has also hacked into a US Senate server, and claimed responsibility for temporarily knocking offline the CIA's public website.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


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