Dutch Police Arrest Suspected #COVID19 DDoS Attacker

Dutch police last week dismantled 15 DDoS “booter” sites and arrested a 19-year-old suspected of taking out two government websites which help citizens get information on the current COVID-19 pandemic.

The man from the southern Dutch city of Breda was caught on suspicion of DDoS-ing MijnOverheid.nl and Overheid.nl for several hours last month.

The former provides a personalized portal for sending and receiving documents to the government, while the latter offers the latest information from the authorities, including important COVID-19 updates.

“By flattening a website like this, you are denying citizens access to their personal data and important government information. We take this very high, especially now that the corona crisis is causing additional uncertainty and a great need for information for many people,” said Jeroen Niessen, head of the cybercrime team of the central Netherlands police.

“We want to protect people and companies and make it increasingly difficult for cyber-criminals to carry out a DDoS attack.”

To that end, the same team shut down 15 “booter” sites offering DDoS-for-hire services. These operations have essentially democratized what used to be a technically complex and expensive process, allowing almost anyone to target specific sites and organizations.

“With preventive actions, we want to protect people as much as possible against DDoS attacks. By taking booters and their domain names offline, we make it difficult for cyber-criminals. We have now put quite a few [offline]. If they pop up elsewhere, we will immediately work on it again. Our goal is to seize more and more booters,” said Niessen.

According to data from Imperva, porn sites were most frequently attacked by DDoS-ers last year. It revealed 84.46 attacks per site during 2019, way higher than second and third-placed sectors gaming (13.33) and news (10.16).

Dutch police have a strong competence in cybersecurity, and are often involved in major pan-European operations such as the take downs of notorious dark web sites AlphaBay and Hansa in 2017.

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