The National Crime Agency (NCA) has announced the arrest of 57 individuals across the UK for alleged offences ranging from breaking into government and corporate networks to the development and dissemination of malicious software.
The NCA, which is the task force set up in October 2013 to handle serious and organised crime in the UK, has stated that its 57 arrests cover 25 separate operations in England, Scotland, and Wales. 'These arrests around the country this week are a result of the essential partnership activity with law enforcement, industry and government that is at the heart of fighting cyber crime,
' claimed Andy Archibald, deputy director of the NCA's dedicated National Cyber Crime Unit. 'Criminals need to realise that committing crime online will not make them anonymous to law enforcement. We are continuously working to track down and apprehend those seeking to utilise computers for criminal ends, and to disrupt the technical networks and infrastructures supporting international cyber crime.
'It’s imperative that we continue to work with partners to pursue and disrupt the major crime groups targeting the UK, but also, crucially, work to make sure that people have the knowledge and resources to make the UK as inhospitable as possible for cyber criminals in the first place.
Those arrested as part of the campaign include: an alleged 21 year old member of the D33Ds Company cracker group responsible for the theft and publication of 400,000 account details from Yahoo servers back in 2012; a 23 year old man allegedly responsible for an attack on the US Department of Defence which saw information regarding the Enhanced Mobile Satellite Services communication system accessed illegally; a 22 year old suspected of writing and distributing malicious software; a 20 year old suspected of committing a phishing attack resulting in the theft of £15,000; a 25 year old accused of deploying malware against banks resulting in their financial losses; a 16 year old who is alleged to have orchestrated distributed denial of service attaches (DDoS) against 350 websites; two men, aged 38 and 29 years, claimed to have stolen intellectual property from a London financial institution; and the alleged author of the Titanium and Avenger stress-testing tools which have been used in DDoS attacks on companies and government agencies.
Other crimes listed in the official announcement
include the vague 'cyber-enabled fraud
,' various network intrusions, multiple DDoS attacks including one alleged to have been committed by a business rival to gain advantage over a competitor, money laundering, theft, conspiracy to commit various offences, and one hosting company 'whose servers are suspected of being used to house suspected criminal infrastructure
.' Several individuals were also issued with cease and desist orders after being identified has having attempted to purchase remote access tool (RAT) malware.
The NCA also organised ten groups comprised of members from Regional Organised Crime Units (ROCUs), Police Scotland and Police Service of Northern Ireland to visit 60 businesses having identified a claimed 5,531 compromises of UK-based servers which could be used to steal data, send out spam or launch DDoS attacks. The NCA estimates that if all 60 businesses act on the security reporst received, around half of the phishing attacks originating in the UK could be stopped.