UK & Dutch police have helped lead an international operation with Europol to take down one of the World’s biggest DDoS-for-hire services, webstresser.org.
The UK’s National Crime Agency and their Dutch Police counterparts announced the success of ‘Operation Power Off’ – which saw the seizure of infrastructure believed to be linked with criminal activity based in the UK, Netherlands and Germany, and the arrest of individuals as far afield as the UK, Spain, Canada, Croatia, Italy, Australia and Hong Kong by at least a dozen different law enforcement agencies.
On the other side of the Atlantic, the Department of Justice announced an additional six arrests by the FBI, with a further 48 domains seized as part of a criminal investigation into DDoS-for-hire operations.
According to Europol, Webstresser is estimated to have let over 136,000 customers launch more than four million Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks on targets for as little as £11, overwhelming websites and online services with traffic and knocking them offline. Although DDoS for hire services often pose as genuine ‘stress-test’ tools, users with very little technical knowledge were able to order attacks on unrelated targets – choosing between ‘Bronze’ ‘Silver’ and ‘Platinum’ packages.
The service was thought to be responsible for cyber attacks on at least seven major UK banks in November 2021, as well as numerous other businesses and government departments around the world. The BBC reports UK police have raided an address in Bradford, in connection with last year’s attacks on UK banks in particular.
Jaap van Oss, the Dutch Chair of the Joint Cybercrime Action Taskforce (J-CAT) praised the joint cooperation by law enforcement agencies to finally take Stresser offline.