‘Booter’ sites taken down in global cyber crime bust

Web domains of the so called ‘booter’ services were replaced with a law enforcement splash page explaining that they had been seized and were no longer available for use.
Web domains of the so called ‘booter’ services were replaced with a law enforcement splash page explaining that they had been seized and were no longer available for use.

The sites were taken down by the FBI following close collaboration with the UK's National Crime Agency, Netherlands Police and Europol, under Operation PowerOFF

Published

An international operation targeting tools and services used to commit serious cyber attacks has taken down of 48 of the world’s most popular ‘booter’ sites.

The sites – which enabled cyber criminals to execute Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks designed to overwhelm websites and force them offline - were taken down by the FBI, following close collaboration with the UK's National Crime Agency, Netherlands Police and Europol, under Operation PowerOFF.

Web domains of the so called ‘booter’ services were replaced with a law enforcement splash page explaining that they had been seized and were no longer available for use.

The sites were taken down by the FBI following close collaboration with the UK's National Crime Agency, Netherlands Police and Europol, under Operation PowerOFF
The sites were taken down by the FBI following close collaboration with the UK's National Crime Agency, Netherlands Police and Europol, under Operation PowerOFF

At the same time NCA officers arrested an 18-year-old man in Devon, who is suspected of being an administrator of one of the sites.

Charges were also filed against a further six alleged site owners in the US.

DDoS attacks are illegal in the UK under the Computer Misuse Act 1990.

Booter services allow users to set up accounts and order DDoS attacks in a matter of minutes. They have the potential to cause significant harm to businesses and critical national infrastructure, and often prevent people from accessing essential public services.

Their ease of access means it has become easier for people with low level cyber skills to commit offences. Around a quarter of referrals received by the NCA’s Cyber Prevent Team involve individuals using booter services.

Web domains of the so called ‘booter’ services were replaced with a law enforcement splash page explaining that they had been seized and were no longer available for use.
Web domains of the so called ‘booter’ services were replaced with a law enforcement splash page explaining that they had been seized and were no longer available for use.

Frank Tutty from the NCA’s National Cyber Crime Unit said:

“This operation has taken out a significant proportion of the DDoS-for-hire marketplace, removing booter services which are a key enabler of this criminality.

“The perceived anonymity and ease of use afforded by booter services now means that DDoS has become an attractive entry-level crime, allowing individuals with little technical ability to commit cyber offences with ease.

“The NCA’s Cyber Prevent Team works to identify such individuals who are on the cusp of cyber criminality before they commit more serious offences.

“Users of these sites based in the UK have been identified and can expect a visit from the NCA or police in the coming months.”

The sites seized were the biggest DDoS-for-hire services on the market, with one having been used to carry out over 30 million attacks.

Operation PowerOFF is the ongoing, coordinated response by international law enforcement targeting criminal DDoS-for-hire infrastructures worldwide.