A joint effort from a consortium of authorities, from across 11 countries, today shut down notorious cyber-crime website ‘webstresser.org’; following an investigation that found the site was linked to over 4 million cyber-attacks around the world.
The National Crime Agency (NCA) and the Dutch National Police led the investigation that shut down the website at precisely 11:30am this morning, in addition to multiple arrests being made.
“The cyber threat is constantly evolving and is a threat that crosses borders and our response must be one that utilises the close international law enforcement collaboration that is crucial to tackling this threat. We are improving our tactics and capabilities in response.” Jo Goodall, Senior Investigation Office at the NCA, said in a statement. “A significant criminal website has been shut down and the sophisticated crime group behind it stopped as a result of an international investigation involving law enforcement agencies from eleven countries.”
Authorities from across five different countries – including the Netherlands, Serbia, Croatia and Canada – targeted six members of the crime group behind the website today.
In addition to their assistance, the Dutch Police and German and US authorities seized servers and effectively took down the website early Wednesday morning.
According to the NCA, an address in Bradford was identified and investigated; seizing a number of items. Officers from the NCA have said they believe a personnel located at the address used the site to target seven of the UK’s banks in attacks last November.
“Over the last year we have seen how cyber-attacks have real-world consequences; resulting in actual physical harm as well as causing reputational and financial damage to businesses of all sizes,” Goodall said. “But Businesses and individuals must report cyber-crime – the earlier people report, the quicker we are able to assess new methodologies and limit the damage they can have.”
The investigators on the case said the crime gang sold cyber-attacks for as little as $14.99 on the site, allowing anyone with little or no knowledge around the topic to rent the service and attack a website very easily with little chance of being caught.
A cyber-attack knows as Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) was offered to users of the site, which has been found to exist heavily in the Netherlands according to the NCA, which allows a user to seize and crash a site to gain the information desired.
Other targets of attacks in the past have included police forces, victims in the gaming industry and government organisations. The joint effort demonstrates the collaborative approach to tackling cyber-crime around the world.
“By taking down world’s largest illegal DDOS seller in a worldwide joint law enforcement operation based on NCA intelligence, we have made an unprecedented impact on DDOS cybercrime,” Gert Ras, Head of the National High Tech Crime Unit at the Dutch National Police, said.
“This is a warning to all wannabee DDOS-ers; do not DDOS because through close law enforcement collaboration, we will identify you, bring you to court and facilitate that you will be liable for the huge damage you cause.”
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