Law enforcement officials in the UK, in cooperation with the FBI, have arrested an 18-year-old man in connection with DDoS attacks that took down Sony’s PlayStation Network and Microsoft’s Xbox Live service on Christmas Day.
Officers from the South East Regional Organized Crime Unit (SEROCU) Cyber Crime Unit arrested the man on suspicion of unauthorized access to computer material contrary to section 1 of Computer Misuse Act 1990, unauthorized access with intent to commit further offences contrary to section 2 of Computer Misuse Act 1990 and threats to kill contrary to Section 16 of Offences against the person Act 1861.
A number of electronic and digital devices were seized to be examined by SEROCU’s Cyber Crime Forensic and eForensics Unit.
It’s unclear if the teen was a member of the Lizard Squad but given the nature of the attacks, such conclusion seems probable.
A DDoS attack on Microsoft and Sony’s networks would prove problematic at any time but especially so on Christmas Day when potentially hundreds of thousands of people were taking ownership of their new consoles.
In addition to the hacking charges, the man was also accused of swatting, an act in which someone provides false information to police regarding a non-existent threat that results in police responding with tactical units. As noted in the SEROCU report, making false threats drains law enforcement resources and can cause distress or physical injury to first responders or victims.