Coordinated by Europol and the Joint Action Task Force (J-CAT), with the support of the Dutch Police Force and British National Crime Agency, activities worldwide to detect denial-of-service attacks (DDoS) are taking place. It is believed that webstresser.org has been the world’s biggest market to hire DDoS services, collaborating to launch over 4 million attacks at a cost of only 15€ per month.
While some focus their actions specifically on users of webstresser.org, police agencies all over the world have intensified their activities against users of DDoS services in general. For this purpose, the FBI ,on 15th December, confiscated other DDoS rental websites, including the relatively well-known Downthemi Quantum Stresser. In the same way, the Romanian Police Force has taken measures against administrators of two smaller scale DDoS platforms and has taken advantage of digital evidence including information about users.
The excessive trend in renting DDoS is an urgent issue, mainly because of how accessible it has become. At a nominal rate, any individual with limited qualifications can launch DDoS attacks with the click of a button, eliminating all websites and networks. The damage that can be done to victims can be considerable, stalling companies economically and depriving people of essential services offered by banks, government institutions and police forces.
Feeling brave thanks to a perceived anonymity, many young new technology enthusiasts get involved in this apparently minor offence, ignoring the consequences that these online activities can cause. Cybercrime is not a crime without victims and is taken very seriously by the police. Side effects that a criminal investigation could have on the lives of these adolescents can be serious, and even amount to a prison sentence in some countries.
The impact of DDoS attacks was recently stressed by the conviction of a 30-year old hacker to almost three years in prison in the United Kingdom after being found guilty of carrying out attacks against a political leader. In November 2016, these DDoS attacks smashed against Internet access, with an attack that caused millions of pounds worth of damage.
In the Netherlands, the police and the prosecutor’s office have developed a project, known as Hack_Right , dedicated to dealing with first-time young offenders in order to prevent them from committing more serious crimes.
Decrypting skills, gambling, computer programming, cyber security or anything related to IT are in great demand and there are many degrees and opportunities available so that they can be used with care.
These actions are implemented within the EMPACT framework. In 2010, the European Union created a four-year political circle to guarantee a better continuity in the fight against international and organised crime. In 2017 the Council of the EU decided to continue the EU political cycle for the 2018-2021period. Its objective is to address the most important threats posed by international organised crime in the EU. This is achieved via the improvement and strengthening of cooperation between the relevant services of the EU member states, institutions and organisms, and also non-community countries and organisations, including the private sector, when it is relevant.
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