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Global Operation Ends in Arrest of US DDoS Suspect

Law enforcers in Australia, Canada and the US are celebrating the arrest of a 37-year-old Seattle man in connection with DDoS attacks on numerous businesses.

The two-and-a-half-year cross-border investigation began in early 2015, after a string of organizations in the three countries were hit with DDoS-related outages and follow-up extortion attempts from an individual.

On Wednesday, the FBI finally arrested a suspect in Seattle. The Iranian-born US citizen has been charged with various cyber offenses and is being detained in custody, according to the Australian Federal Police (AFP).

“This is a timely reminder to cyber-criminals that international law enforcement is a team sport. Our ability and willingness to work together at a distance and across borders has never been greater,” said AFP Cyber Crime Operations manager, commander David McLean.

“I would like to thank our international partners for their cooperation as well as for their patience and persistence in bringing about this result. I would also like to acknowledge the companies who were victims of the attacks for their ongoing co-operation.”

The success of this global law enforcement effort comes hot on the heels of the takedown of two of the world’s biggest darknet marketplaces: AlphaBay and Hansa.

That was described by Europol chief, Rob Wainright, as “one of the most sophisticated law enforcement operations against cybercrime that we’ve ever seen”.

The volume of global DDoS attacks actually decreased by 30% year-on-year in the first three months of 2017, according to Akamai.

However, with Mirai and similar malware offering attackers a relatively easy way to launch huge DDoS attacks, there remain challenges.

Unlike the above attacks investigated by Aussie, Canadian and US law enforcers, some are used by cyber-criminals and state hackers to mask information-stealing and other online raids, as they typically distract IT teams.

In December, Europol helped to co-ordinate an operation designed to target another source of attacks, “DDoS-for-hire” tools.

In that operation, 34 arrests were made, many of them young adults.

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