June 21, 2011 / 5:38 PM / in 6 years

UK teenager arrested in global hacking probe

LONDON (Reuters) - British police arrested a 19-year-old man in England on suspicions that he was linked to cyber attacks on the CIA, Britain’s anti-organized crime agency and Sony Corp.

As part of international efforts to catch the culprits behind a string of high-profile hacks, London’s Metropolitan Police, working with the U.S. FBI, said they arrested the teenager in the town of Wickford, close to London.

The raid was linked to recent attacks on the websites of the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency and the British police Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA), which targets organized crime in Britain and overseas, police said.

The suspect’s computer was being examined for data linked to Sony, whose websites have also been attacked.

The Lulz Security group of hackers has claimed responsibility for these attacks, but police declined to say whether the suspect was linked to that organization.

Lulz Security said on Twitter that the suspect was not a group leader. It said he was “at best, mildly associated” with the group and that Lulz Security used one of his servers to host one of several chatrooms.

In addition to attacks on Sony, the CIA and SOCA, Lulz Security has also claimed responsibility for targeting the U.S. Public Broadcasting Service and Fox.com. Fox is a unit of News Corp.

But no hackers have claimed responsibility so far for some more serious recent security breaches including attacks on the International Monetary Fund, Lockheed Martin Corp, Citigroup Inc, Google Inc and Michaels Stores.

Lulz Security has also not claimed responsibility for two major attacks against Sony that captured personal data of more than 100 million customers, including 77 million PlayStation Network and Qriocity accounts.

COMPUTER MISUSE AND FRAUD

Lulz Security often uses so-called denial-of-service attacks to overwhelm websites with Internet traffic.

SOCA’s website, which is used purely for public information, went down for a short time on Monday before being brought back up. Hackers would not have had access to confidential data or information about ongoing operations, a SOCA spokesman said.

Police said the teenager, who was being held at a central London police station, was arrested on suspicion of computer misuse and fraud offences.

The London Force said forensic experts were examining “a significant amount of material” following searches at the home where the arrest took place.

“The arrest follows an investigation into network intrusions and Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks against a number of international business and intelligence agencies by what is believed to be the same hacking group,” the London force said.

Lulz Security said on Sunday that it has teamed up with Anonymous, a group of hacker activists, or “hactivists,” in a campaign to steal highly sensitive government data.

Anonymous has publicly targeted websites of companies that it says are foes of the “WikiLeaks” website and governments that it describes as oppressive.

Spanish police arrested on June 10 three suspected members of Anonymous.

Reporting by Tim Castle and Avril Ormsby; Additional reporting by Jim Finkle; Editing by Janet Lawrence, Gary Hill and Bernard Orr

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