Officers from the cyber crime division of the UK's South East Regional Organized Crime Unit (SEROCU) and the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) have been working closely together on an ongoing operation to track down and eventually arrest members of the hacker group Lizard Squad.
The groups' capture of an 18-year-old from Southport is their most significant achievement yet.
Police arrested the teen as part of its investigation into the attacks on PlayStation Network and Xbox Live during the holidays. The teen, whose identity is withheld, was arrested under the computer misuse act.
"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," said Craig Jones, head of SEROCU's cyber crime unit.
Authorities said the arrest was made in connection with the DDoS attacks launched in the UK. There were also a number of electronic gadgets that were seized.
It should be recalled that over the Christmas holiday, both the PlayStation Network and the Xbox Live were taken down for long periods. The systems were reportedly hit with a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack, which the hacker group Lizard Squad claimed full responsibility for. The same group also admitted attacking both networks in the early part of 2014.
"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," continued Jones.
The teen is also facing charges of "swatting." The term is used to describe the act of consciously providing law enforcement with false information about a target. One example is when the person suggests that there's a threat in a particular location, with the intention of making the police respond to a bogus incident.
The charges filed against the teen are summarized as follows:
1. Suspicion of unauthorized access to computer material contrary to section 1 of Computer Misuse Act 1990;
2. Unauthorized access with intent to commit further offences contrary to section 2 of Computer Misuse Act of 1990; and
3. Threats to kill contrary to Section 16 of Offences against the person Act 1861.
"We will continue to work closely with the FBI to identify those who commit offences and hold them to account," added Jones.