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Staffordshire man arrested over attack on Home Secretary’s website

07 November 2012

A Staffordshire man was arrested in Fenton on Tuesday in a joint operation by Scotland Yard and the Staffordshire police, and questioned under the Serious Crime Act on suspicion of assisting or encouraging crime.

The unnamed man is suspected of encouraging DDoS attacks against Home Secretary Theresa May’s constituency website and the Home Office website in June this year. He does not appear to be accused of taking part in the attacks, but both participating in or encouraging such an attack carries a jail sentence of up to 10 years.

The man is currently released on bail while the police examine computers, telephones and storage devices seized from his home. Few details have yet been released, but Detective Inspector Jason Tunn (from the Met’s Police Central e-Crime Unit) said, “Assisting and encouraging cyber crime is a serious matter and I would advise all persons to consider their actions and any possible future consequences prior to posting any material online.”

A report in the Telegraph says the Met’s spokesperson “declined to discuss whether officers believe the man arrested in Stoke-on-Trent on Tuesday is an Anonymous supporter or member of any other online activist group."

However, back in June (around the same time as the alleged offense) Infosecurity received a note from a member of Anonymous, suggesting that a branch of the group, “(not me) attacked Tmay on sat and failed – worse the idiots planned it on facebook.” The timing, together with Tunn’s reference to ‘posting any material online,’ would suggest the two incidents are related.

Both Theresa May and the Home Office have received close attention from Anonymous this year over the Assange arrest, support for the Communications Bill, and the extradition procedures against Gary McKinnon and Richard O’Dwyer. More recently May has received some respite after stopping McKinnon’s extradition.

This article is featured in:
Internet and Network Security  •  Public Sector

 

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