London schoolboy cuffed for BIGGEST DDOS ATTACK IN HISTORY

Bet his parents wish he'd been playing computer games


A British police investigation into the massive DDoS attack against internet watchdog Spamhaus has led to the arrest of a 16-year-old London schoolboy who, it is claimed, is part of an international gang of cyber-crooks.

"The suspect was found with his computer systems open and logged on to various virtual systems and forums," says the police document shown to the London Evening Standard. "The subject has a significant amount of money flowing through his bank account. Financial investigators are in the process of restraining monies."

The young miscreant was arrested in April at the same time as a 35 year-old Dutchman (thought to be Sven Kamphuis – the owner of hosting firm Cyberbunker) as part of an investigation into the Spamhaus attack by British police dubbed Operation Rashlike. The arrest was kept secret, and the boy has been released on bail pend a trial later in the year.

The police document states that the Spamhaus attack in March was the "largest DDoS attack ever seen," and claims the performance of the London Internet Exchange was hard hit. The attack caused "worldwide disruption of the functionality" of the internet, it states.

Certainly the attack was a biggie. On March 18, Spamhaus and its networking partner CloudFlare started getting DDoSed at around 90Gbps. When that failed to take the site offline, the attackers went upstream to ISPs and internet exchanges in Amsterdam and London (even El Reg's own Trevor Pott inadvertently took part), and by March 22 over 300Gbps was hitting the Spamhaus servers.

But despite the hype, the attack didn't seriously interrupt the flow of internet data. The London Internet Exchange reported "minor amount of collateral congestion in a small portion of our network," and Spamhaus' services weren't seriously disrupted.

"Only the website and our email server were affected," Steve Linford, chief executive for Spamhaus, told El Reg. "All Spamhaus DNSBL [DNS Block List] services continued to run unaffected throughout the attack. In fact Spamhaus DNSBLs have never once been down since we started them in 2001."

Spamhaus is more targeted than most because of the work it does. The organization compiles lists of ISPs, domains, and email servers that are known spammers so service providers can block off huge chunks of incoming emails offering fake Viagra tablets, dodgy dating, and malware.

In 2011 Spamhaus temporarily blacklisted Dutch hosting firm Cyberbunker, which allows customers to use its services for absolutely anything "except child porn and anything related to terrorism." Cyberbunker denied responsibility and claimed Spamhaus was acting as a internet vigilante, although it appears Cyberlocker's owner may have taken a more direct approach against the watchdog.

Quite how a 16-year-old schoolboy got mixed up in all this remains to be seen. Certainly shifting large amounts of cash through a teenager's bank account isn't the smartest move in the criminal playbook, but it wouldn't be the first time such basic mistakes have led to arrests.

Similar topics

Broader topics


Other stories you might like

  • Cloudflare says it thwarted record-breaking HTTPS DDoS flood
    26m requests a second? Not legit traffic, not even Bill Gates doing $1m giveaways could manage that

    Cloudflare said it this month staved off another record-breaking HTTPS-based distributed denial-of-service attack, this one significantly larger than the previous largest DDoS attack that occurred only two months ago.

    In April, the biz said it mitigated an HTTPS DDoS attack that reached a peak of 15.3 million requests-per-second (rps). The flood last week hit a peak of 26 million rps, with the target being the website of a company using Cloudflare's free plan, according to Omer Yoachimik, product manager at Cloudflare.

    Like the attack in April, the most recent one not only was unusual because of its size, but also because it involved using junk HTTPS requests to overwhelm a website, preventing it from servicing legit visitors and thus effectively falling off the 'net.

    Continue reading
  • Man gets two years in prison for selling 200,000 DDoS hits
    Over 2,000 customers with malice on their minds

    A 33-year-old Illinois man has been sentenced to two years in prison for running websites that paying customers used to launch more than 200,000 distributed denial-of-services (DDoS) attacks.

    A US California Central District jury found the Prairie State's Matthew Gatrel guilty of one count each of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, unauthorized impairment of a protected computer and conspiracy to commit unauthorized impairment of a protected computer. He was initially charged in 2018 after the Feds shut down 15 websites offering DDoS for hire.

    Gatrel, was convicted of owning and operating two websites – DownThem.org and AmpNode.com – that sold DDoS attacks. The FBI said that DownThem sold subscriptions that allowed the more than 2,000 customers to run the attacks while AmpNode provided customers with the server hosting. AmpNode spoofed servers that could be pre-configured with DDoS attack scripts and attack amplifiers to launch simultaneous attacks on victims.

    Continue reading
  • Malaysia-linked DragonForce hacktivists attack Indian targets
    Just what we needed: a threat to rival Anonymous

    A Malaysia-linked hacktivist group has attacked targets in India, seemingly in reprisal for a representative of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) making remarks felt to be insulting to the prophet Muhammad.

    The BJP has ties to the Hindu Nationalist movement that promotes the idea India should be an exclusively Hindu nation. During a late May debate about the status of a mosque in the Indian city of Varanasi – a holy city and pilgrimage site – BJP rep Nupur Sharma made inflammatory remarks about Islam that sparked controversy and violence in India.

    Continue reading
  • Let's play everyone's favorite game: REvil? Or Not REvil?
    Another day, another DDoS attack that tries to scare the victim into paying up with mention of dreaded gang

    Akamai has spoken of a distributed denial of service (DDoS) assault against one of its customers during which the attackers astonishingly claimed to be associated with REvil, the notorious ransomware-as-a-service gang.

    REvil was behind the JBS and Kaseya malware infections last year. In January, Russia reportedly dismantled REvil's networks and arrested 14 of its alleged members, theoretically putting an end to the criminal operation. 

    Beginning in late April, however, the same group of miscreants — or some copycats  — appeared to resume their regularly scheduled ransomware activities with a new website for leaking data stolen from victims, and fresh malicious code.

    Continue reading
  • Verizon: Ransomware sees biggest jump in five years
    We're only here for DBIRs

    The cybersecurity landscape continues to expand and evolve rapidly, fueled in large part by the cat-and-mouse game between miscreants trying to get into corporate IT environments and those hired by enterprises and security vendors to keep them out.

    Despite all that, Verizon's annual security breach report is again showing that there are constants in the field, including that ransomware continues to be a fast-growing threat and that the "human element" still plays a central role in most security breaches, whether it's through social engineering, bad decisions, or similar.

    According to the US carrier's 2022 Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR) released this week [PDF], ransomware accounted for 25 percent of the observed security incidents that occurred between November 1, 2020, and October 31, 2021, and was present in 70 percent of all malware infections. Ransomware outbreaks increased 13 percent year-over-year, a larger increase than the previous five years combined.

    Continue reading
  • Shopping for malware: $260 gets you a password stealer. $90 for a crypto-miner...
    We take a look at low, low subscription prices – not that we want to give anyone any ideas

    A Tor-hidden website dubbed the Eternity Project is offering a toolkit of malware, including ransomware, worms, and – coming soon – distributed denial-of-service programs, at low prices.

    According to researchers at cyber-intelligence outfit Cyble, the Eternity site's operators also have a channel on Telegram, where they provide videos detailing features and functions of the Windows malware. Once bought, it's up to the buyer how victims' computers are infected; we'll leave that to your imagination.

    The Telegram channel has about 500 subscribers, Team Cyble documented this week. Once someone decides to purchase of one or more of Eternity's malware components, they have the option to customize the final binary executable for whatever crimes they want to commit.

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022