Theresa May DDoS Suspect Arrested

The Metropolitan Police Service has confirmed the arrest of a man in Stoke-on-Trent, as part of an investigation into distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks on home secretary Theresa May’s website and the Home Office site.

The Met said today the Police Central e-Crime Unit (PCeU) worked alongside officers from the East Midlands Regional Hub to apprehend a 41-year-old male on suspicion of assisting or encouraging crime contrary to the Serious Crime Act 2007.

He was taken into custody at a local police station and later bailed. He is due to return on a date in mid-December for further enquiries.

Police seized computers, telephones and associated media storage devices from the address in Stoke.

DDoS destruction

“The activity this morning demonstrates the commitment of the PCeU and our colleagues to combat cyber criminality anywhere within the UK and take action against those responsible,” said DI Jason Tunn, from the PCeU.

“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.”

TechWeekEurope exclusively revealed in May this year that an Anonymous splinter cell claimed to have taken down Theresa May’s website, tmay.co.uk, in protest against the UK’s stance on extradition, which had been criticised for pandering too much to US interests.

Yet the home secretary’s website, and the Home Office site, have been targeted numerous times, so it remains unclear as to whether the investigation is looking solely at the attack reported in May.

The UK Anonymous group which took credit for the hit in May also claimed to have been behind DDoS strikes on the Supreme Court and the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO).

A member of that group told TechWeekEurope he believed he knew the arrested man, but did not want to offer any more. “If I was wrong it would put someone in serious jeopardy,” they said. “I cannot believe that the arrest was due to encouragement of cyber attacks. That could be used against anyone, including me.

“The Home Office and [Theresa May] protests were conducted by hundreds if not thousands of people concerned at the way extradition laws, considered by Ms May, were in breach of our human rights. The protests included concerns about injustice, and were aimed at the justicve.gov.uk websites as well.

“We Anonymous cannot see how individuals can be accused of encouraging ‘cyber attacks’, when it appears that the offence is really encouraging protests against breaches of our human rights.”

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Thomas Brewster

Tom Brewster is TechWeek Europe's Security Correspondent. He has also been named BT Information Security Journalist of the Year in 2012 and 2013.

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