Officers from the South East Regional Organised Crime Unit (SEROCU) Cyber Crime Unit, supported by Titan ROCU (North West Regional Organised Crime Unit), have arrested a man as part of an investigation into ‘swatting’ and computer hacking offences.
SEROCU, supported by the National Cyber Crime Unit (NCCU), worked closely with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) on the operation which focused on the denial of service attack of Sony Playstation and Xbox systems in 2014 and ‘swatting’ offences.
‘Swatting’ is a term used to describe criminal activity by an individual or group who knowingly provides false information to law enforcement agencies in the USA, suggesting that a threat exists at a particular location so that police respond with tactical units. Making false threats drains law enforcement resources and can cause significant distress or physical injury to first responders or victims.
An 18-year-old man was arrested this morning (16/1) in Boundary Street, Southport on suspicion of unauthorised access to computer material contrary to section 1 of Computer Misuse Act 1990, unauthorised access with intent to commit further offences contrary to section 2 of Computer Misuse Act 1990 and threats to kill contrary to Section 16 of Offences against the person Act 1861.
A number of electronic and digital devices were seized to be examined by SEROCU’s Cyber Crime Forensic and eForensics Unit.
Craig Jones, Head of the Cyber Crime Unit at SEROCU, said: “This investigation is a good example of joint law enforcement cooperation in relation to a type of criminality that is not restricted by any geographical boundaries.
“We are still at the early stages of the investigation and there is still much work to be done. We will continue to work closely with the FBI to identify those to who commit offences and hold them to account.
“Offences referred to as ‘swatting’ involve law enforcement forces in the United States receiving hoax calls via Skype for a major incident in which SWAT teams were dispatched.
“We are pursuing cyber criminals using the latest technology and working with businesses and academia to further develop specialist investigative capabilities to protect and reduce the risk to the public.
“Cyber crime is an issue which has no boundaries and affects people on a local, regional and global level.
“I would like to urge everyone to check their home and business computer security and follow the advice available on sites such as cyberstreetwise.com and getsafeonline.org.
“Finally I would ask anyone who has information in regards to cyber offences to report them to Action Fraud at www.actionfraud.police.uk or anonymously calling Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or online at www.crimestoppers-uk.org.”
DCC Peter Goodman, National Policing Lead for Cyber Security at the Association of Police Officers (ACPO), said: “”This is a significant arrest by the South East regional Cyber Crime Unit, supported by North West policing colleagues, of a UK citizen suspected of engaging in serious and organised cyber crime on the national and international stage. The cyber crime investigative capability I am overseeing across the Regional Organised Crime Units increasingly allows policing to undertake such complex investigations as a networked specialist resource, and in collaboration with international law enforcement partners, as in this case the FBI. This arrest demonstrates that we will pursue those who commit crime with the false perception they are protected within their own homes or hiding behind anonymous online personas.
“As we continue to build capability and develop skills across wider policing, we still need industry, communities and individuals to protect themselves by implementing basic security measures whilst taking full advantage and enjoyment the opportunities the world wide web provides.”