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Six individuals have been arrested by British law enforcement as part of an operation targeting those who have used the Lizard Squad's LizardStresser distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) tool.
According to the U.K. National Crime Agency (NCA), six males aged between 15 and 18 are suspected of using LizardStresser to launch attacks on a national newspaper, a school, gaming companies, and several online retailers. The teens are said to have used Bitcoin and other alternative payment methods to rent the service without exposing their true identity.
The six suspects targeted in the law enforcement initiative dubbed "Operation Vivarium" are based in Manchester, Stockport, Northampton, Milton Keynes, and Huddersfield. Investigators seized computer equipment from one of the alleged LizardStresser users. The suspects have been released on bail.
The NCA noted that two other suspects from Cardiff and Northolt were arrested earlier this year. The agency says officers are visiting roughly 50 addresses linked to individuals believed to have registered on the LizardStresser website, but without actually carrying out any attacks.
"By paying a comparatively small fee, tools like Lizard Stresser can cripple businesses financially and deprive people of access to important information and public services," said Tony Adams, Head of Investigations at the NCA's National Cyber Crime Unit. "This multi-agency operation illustrates the commitment of the NCA and its partners to pursuing people who think they can criminally disrupt important public services or legitimate businesses."
"One of our key priorities is to engage with those on the fringes of cyber criminality, to help them understand the consequences of cyber crime and how they can channel their abilities into productive and lucrative legitimate careers," Adams added.
The notorious Lizard Squad collective started advertising LizardStresser in late 2014, when the service was used to disrupt Microsoft's Xbox Live and Sony's PlayStation Network.
It's not surprising that people who used the service -- and even those who simply registered on the LizardStresser website -- are targeted by police. The service was hacked in January and the details of more than 14,000 users were leaked.
Last month, a 17-year-old Finnish teenager named Julius Kivimäki, suspected of being a member of the Lizard Squad, got a two-year suspended prison sentence. However, Kivimaki was convicted for computer crimes carried out in 2012 and 2013, not activities involving Lizard Squad.
LizardStresser currently appears to be offline, and all tweets except one have been deleted from the Lizard Squad's main Twitter account.