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UK police arrest six teens for using Lizard Squad’s hacking-for-hire tool

Police in the UK have arrested six teenagers for using DDoS tools allegedly developed by the hacking group Lizard Squad, who infamously took down the Playstation and Xbox networks over Christmas 2014.

The hacking group developed the hacking-for-hire tool, Lizard Stresser, where users could avail of Lizard Squad’s services to carry out denial of service attacks. The six British teens are accused of using the service, by paying through Bitcoin, to target sites of major companies. Authorities have not specifically named the teens’ targets but the sites of Amazon, Microsoft, and Sony appear on a database associated with the hacking tool.

The UK’s National Crime Agency (NCA) carried out Operation Vivarium between Monday and Thursday this week in the cities of Cardiff, Huddersfield, Manchester, Milton Keynes, Northampton, and Stockport, arresting six males aged between 15 and 18. One suspect in Manchester had his computers seized.

Related: Lizard Squad member charged with 50,000 crimes, yet dodges jail

NCA did not confirm whether or not the aspiring teen cybercriminals were ever successful in attacking a major site with their rented tools.

“By paying a comparatively small fee, tools like Lizard Stresser can cripple businesses financially and deprive people of access to important information and public services,” said Tony Adams, head of investigations at NCA’s cybercrime division.

“One of our key priorities is to engage with those on the fringes of cyber criminality, to help them understand the consequences of cyber crime and how they can channel their abilities into productive and lucrative legitimate careers,” he added.

None of the teenagers arrested this week are believed to be Lizard Squad members themselves, or to have had any part in the attacks on Playstation and Xbox. All six are now out on bail.

There have been a number of Lizard Squad arrests this year stemming from its Christmas DDoS campaign. Police in the UK arrested an 18 year old man for his alleged involvement in the crime while in July a court in Finland convicted 17 year old Julius “zeekill” Kivimaki of over 50,000 cybercrime charges but he avoided prison with a two year suspended sentence.