Law enforcement bods at Europol have arrested 34 users of Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) cyber-attack tools and interviewed and cautioned 101 suspects in a global crackdown.
Unsurprisingly, the users identified by Europol’s European Cybercrime Centre (EC3) were mainly young adults under the age of 20.
The body worked with regional agencies to identify cyber-attackers that had targeted critical infrastructure and information systems in the European Union.
The individuals arrested are suspected of paying for stressers and booters services to maliciously deploy software to launch DDoS attacks.
The tools used are part of the criminal "DDoS for hire" facilities for which hackers can pay and aim at targets of their choosing, said Europol in its press release.
Steven Wilson, head of Europol’s European Cybercrime Centre (EC3), said: “Today’s generation is closer to technology than ever before, with the potential of exacerbating the threat of cybercrime. Many IT enthusiasts get involved in seemingly low-level fringe cybercrime activities from a young age, unaware of the consequences that such crimes carry.
"One of the key priorities of law enforcement should be to engage with these young people to prevent them from pursuing a criminal path, helping them understand how they can use their skills for a more constructive purpose.“
Europol is currently conducting a prevention campaign in all participating countries in order to raise awareness of the risk of young adults getting involved in cybercrime.
The European Multidisciplinary Platform against Criminal Threats project included Belgium, France, Hungary, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom.
However, back in September, Europol's acting head of strategy for cybercrime warned The Register that the UK will “certainly be cut off from the full intelligence picture” after Brexit.®