Northampton teen arrested in national cyber attack investigation

A 16-year-old from Northampton, suspected to have downloaded and used a hacking tool to bring down a website, has been arrested in a police sting.
A 16-year-old from Northampton, suspected to have downloaded and used a hacking tool to bring down a website, has been arrested in a police sting.

A Northampton teen has been arrested on suspicion of launching cyber attacks using a service created by a notorious hacking group which previously targeted Xbox and PlayStation networks.

The 16-year-old, who has not been named is one of six all teenage male suspects, who have been arrested as part of a National Crime Agency (NCA) operation targeting alleged users of a tool known as “Lizard Stresser.”

The software, which can be bought for a small fee, works by flooding websites with data, leaving them inaccessible to visitors and effectively taking them offline for up to eight hours at a time.

The NCA says a 16-year-old male from Northampton was arrested and bailed on Wednesdsay, August 26, after it was alleged he had downloaded and used the software to bring down a website.

Tony Adams, Head of Investigations at the NCA’s National Cyber Crime Unit, said: “By paying a comparatively small fee, tools like Lizard Stresser can cripple businesses financially and deprive people of access to important information and public services.

“This multi-agency operation illustrates the commitment of the NCA and its partners to pursuing people who think they can criminally disrupt important public services or legitimate businesses.”

Those arrested are suspected of “maliciously deploying” Lizard Stresser, having bought the tool using alternative payment services such as Bitcoin in a bid to remain anonymous.

Organisations believed to have been targeted by the suspects include a leading national newspaper, a school, gaming companies and a number of online retailers.

The warrants executed this week included a 15-year-old male from Stockport.

Officers are also visiting approximately 50 addresses linked to individuals registered on the Lizard Stresser website, but who are not currently believed to have carried out attacks.

Those receiving visits will be told by NCA officers that such cyber attacks are illegal, can prevent individuals from accessing vital online services, and can cause significant financial and reputational damage to businesses, the Agency says.