Authorities in the United Kingdom this week arrested a half-dozen young males accused of using the Lizard Squad’s Lizard Stresser tool, an online service that allowed paying customers to launch attacks capable of taking Web sites offline for up to eight hours at a time.
The Lizard Stresser came to prominence not long after Christmas Day 2014, when a group of young n’er-do-wells calling itself the Lizard Squad used the tool to knock offline the Sony Playstation and Microsoft Xbox gaming networks. As first reported by KrebsOnSecurity on Jan. 9, the Lizard Stresser drew on Internet bandwidth from hacked home Internet routers around the globe that are protected by little more than factory-default usernames and passwords. The LizardStresser service was hacked just days after that Jan. 9 story, and disappeared shortly after that.
“Those arrested are suspected of maliciously deploying Lizard Stresser, having bought the tool using alternative payment services such as Bitcoin in a bid to remain anonymous,” reads a statement from the U.K.’s National Crime Agency (NCA). “Organisations believed to have been targeted by the suspects include a leading national newspaper, a school, gaming companies and a number of online retailers.”
The NCA says investigators also in the process of visiting 50 addresses linked to individuals registered on the Lizard Stresser Website but who haven’t yet carried out any apparent attacks. The agency notes that one-third of those individuals are below the age of 20, and that its knock-and-talk efforts are part of its wider work to address younger people at risk of entering into serious forms of cybercrime.
According to research published this month, the Lizard Stresser had more than 176 paying subscribers who launched more than 15,000 attacks against 3,907 targets in the two months the service was in operation.
For more information about how to beef up the security your Internet router, check out the “Harden Your Hardware” subsection in the post Tools for a Safer PC.