Security & Fraud

Authorities Target Online Attack-For-Hire Services

FBI Targets Booter Services

The FBI is looking to take down “booter” services, which are hired to take websites offline, and also curb demand with the threat of jail time.

Krebs on Security reported on Tuesday (Dec. 13) that the FBI is working with other global law enforcement agencies to crackdown on the number of people that use services to launch cyberattacks on their behalf.

“DDoS tools are among the many specialized cybercrime services available for hire that may be used by professional criminals and novices alike,” Steve Kelly, FBI unit chief of the International Cyber Crime Coordination Cell task force, explained. “While the FBI is working with our international partners to apprehend and prosecute sophisticated cybercriminals, we also want to deter the young from starting down this path.”

Investigators are using the coordinated effort, called Operation Tarpit, to not only identify and arrest those under suspicion of paying for cyberattacks but also learn more about the growing hacker trend through “knock-and-talk” interviews.

Last week, nearly three dozen people were arrested for allegedly patronizing attack-for-hire services, including 26-year-old U.S. college student Sean Sharma. Sharma is accused of using a booter service to knock the website of a San Francisco chat service offline.

“This successful operation marks the kickoff of a prevention campaign in all participating countries in order to raise awareness of the risk of young adults getting involved in cybercrime,” the European Union’s law enforcement agency, Europol, said in a statement. “Many do it for fun without realizing the consequences of their actions, but the penalties can be severe and have a negative impact on their future prospects.”


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