UK teen arrested over Xbox and Playstation attacks, swatting

Police in the U.K. have arrested another man in connection with the disruption of Microsoft’s Xbox Live and Sony’s PlayStation Network over the Christmas period.

The 18-year-old was arrested near Liverpool on suspicion of hacking and also of “swatting” – the practice of calling armed police tactical units to a target’s house to address a made-up threat. It sounds as though the swatting target was in the U.S., as a spokesman for the South East Regional Organised Crime Unit (Serocu) described “law enforcement forces in the United States receiving hoax calls via Skype for a major incident in which SWAT teams were dispatched.”

The arrested teenager is suspected of unauthorized access to computer material, unauthorized access “with intent to commit further offenses,” and threats to kill. Serocu seized “a number of electronic and digital devices” for examination. The unit worked with the FBI and the North West Regional Organised Crime Unit (Titan Rocu) on the operation.

The “Lizard Squad” attacks on the gaming networks deliberately caused major disruption just as people were receiving consoles and games for Christmas, and were only called off when Mega entrepreneur Kim Dotcom offered the miscreants file hosting vouchers. According to security expert Brian Krebs, the attackers used a botnet based on compromised home routers to knock out Xbox Live and the PlayStation Network.

This is the second arrest in connection with the attacks — a 22-year-old man called Vinnie Omari was arrested in London at the end of December. A Finnish 17-year-old by the name of Julius Kivimäki has also reportedly been interrogated over the attacks.