The investigation surrounding the DDoS attacks that crippled Xbox Live and especially the PlayStation Network over the holidays continues.

Now, an 18-year-old in Southport, a seaside town in Merseyside, England, has been arrested as part of that investigation.

He's being held "on suspicion of unauthorized access to computer material, unauthorized access with intent to commit further offenses, and 'threats to kill.'" The Thames Valley Police confirmed with GameSpot that this arrest is in connection with the aforementioned DDoS attacks. There's also suspicion of "swatting," where someone makes a phony emergency call to police.

Authorities seized plenty of "electronic and digital devices," which will be examined by forensics units. Said SEROCU Cyber Crime Unit boss Craig Jones:

"This investigation is a good example of joint law enforcement cooperation in relation to a type of criminality that is not restricted by any geographical boundaries.

We are still at the early stages of the investigation and there is still much work to be done. We will continue to work closely with the FBI to identify those to who commit offences and hold them to account."

This doesn't help my belief that these perpetrators are just sad little pimply-faced losers sitting at home, thinking they'll change the world by being cyber criminals. Have they even arrested anyone over the age of 20 for this crap yet?  Yeah, figures.

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matt99
matt99
5 years ago

I wonder if these kids see the hacking or whatever you want to call it as just another video game. This is an area where video games may have actually desensitized people in a way. Maybe desensitized is the wrong word but there's a vast difference between video game violence and real world violence-for a start you actually have to leave the house-but these attacks can be committed from the very same chair you would play games from, using the same equipment and I don't think it's too big of a stretch to think that these kids don't think of their actions as having real world consequences. I'm glad these arrests are taking place because hopefully it will make others realize that this is a real crime.
Also let me be clear, I'm not saying games are to blame in any way, this is still entirely on those who commit these crimes.

Ben Dutka PSXE
Ben Dutka PSXE
5 years ago

I think there's a definite detachment at work. They sit in the comfort of their own homes and think they're invulnerable, and anything that happens outside their doors can't hurt them. Video games offer a similar form of detachment but it's purely for entertainment.

When you detach and then commit criminal acts within that detachment, it means you're bordering on anti-social.

matt99
matt99
5 years ago

Do you think this detachment is caused by video games? Or is there an underlying cause that makes these people prone to this behaviour and this is simply an outlet for them?

coverton341
coverton341
5 years ago

Ben, your major was psychology was it not? Are you aware of the Galatea effect or the Pygmalion effect? I wonder how much these two phenomenon affect the rationale of these people, and couple that along with the anonymous nature of the internet lead them to feel insulated from social moral constraints.

It's seen time and again that the insulating nature of anonymity can lead people to act in ways that they would normally not. Now take an individual who sees their demographic portrayed as less than ethical (pygmalion) or an individual with no true sense of self and can only relate to a nebulous expectation of that portrayal (Galatea) and you are left with a recipe for disaster.

Sort of what I was getting at with my long winded post that was deleted by my nefarious web browser.

If we had more outlets, such as classes and job opportunities for people that want to crack security, then maybe the prevalence of these types of crimes would go down. These people could still flex their hacking skills, but in an environment that is beneficial i.e. finding security vulnerabilities, creating security measures, and developing patches to alleviate the weaknesses.

With a portrayed image of the helpfulness of finding security holes instead of an image of the negative side, maybe these types of people would be less likely to act in a socially malignant way. Maybe not, I don't know.

Ben Dutka PSXE
Ben Dutka PSXE
5 years ago

matt: I don't think it's caused by video games, no. I think they might contribute, but that's just another symptom of their lifestyle. When you live in a world of video screens, it's going to have a negative effect, plain and simple.

coverton: Yeah, my degree is in Psychology although admittedly, I don't remember a heckuva lot. I do remember the Pygmalion effect and I'm not sure that comes into play with these hackers. I think it has a lot to do with, as I said above, their chosen lifestyle and the anonymity of the Internet. Galatea is more pertinent here, I think.

I agree that if there were more outlets for people, it would be better for everyone. However, they'd still have to voluntarily participate in those outlets; a lot of these people choose to basically secede from society and live in their own worlds barricaded by computer screens. "Image" is a word that's used far too often as an excuse for bad behavior, in my opinion. In other words, I've never believed that just because you're stereotyped, this justifies deviant or criminal behavior. We all make choices and we all need to be responsible for those choices.

coverton341
coverton341
5 years ago

I had a big long post typed up but my browser crashed and I lost it. Basically I think we need hackers, but we need more "white hat" hackers. They help catch security vulnerabilities and create patches and develop security measures. I think we need to have more incentives for legally and ethically working on that type of thing to perhaps divert this type of negative energy into something more constructive and beneficial. Maybe if there were more opportunities to use the inherent curiosity that people have in this type of activity for something good, they would be less inclined to do it for malicious purposes.

I don't know, just a thought. Not excusing or agreeing with what these people did.

Mdash0009
Mdash0009
5 years ago

That exists, except they get hired for the Company. I have no idea why these people DDOS'd Sony, there's not really any hacking in DDOS'ing. Maybe they just didn't know where to practice their skills. Hacking your own servers (basically anything you own) is legal, so maybe they didn't have their own things to hack? I don't know, what they did just doesn't make any sense.

coverton341
coverton341
5 years ago

Very true, Mdash. I was just postulating random theories for a much wider set of people actually. The type of behaviour displayed here was not so much skill flexing as it was entirely malicious behaviour.

matt99
matt99
5 years ago

I agree Coverton, I remember reading an article about the amount of 'black hat' hackers in Russia I believe it was and it made the argument that the reason for this is because there are a lot of people with computer training and technical knowledge but not enough jobs and so they turn to illegal work because it allows them to provide for their families better.

Having said that I don't think that's the case with "Lizard Squad" or whatever stupid name they give themselves. It seems as though the motive for these attacks is ego masquerading as vigilantism. They see themselves as society's heroes fighting against corporate oppression and the lifestyle they lead as Ben described above is the perfect environment for these beliefs to flourish.

Lone Wanderer
Lone Wanderer
5 years ago

Its time these punk kids from this new generation (1995-2000's) get a wake up call.

souljah92
souljah92
5 years ago

In the form of a belt or a nice sturdy lickin' stick

Palmetto
Palmetto
5 years ago

Bad behavior and criminal mischief crosses all generations, and it silly to think otherwise.

Rachet_JC_FTW
Rachet_JC_FTW
5 years ago

all i got is please stop the DDOS attacks its just anoiying for everyone

happy gaming

richfiles
richfiles
5 years ago

All these long comments disappearing… I must be HACKERS! :O
Nope, just crappy browsers.

Glad they're tracking these morons down. Shame they don't use their 1337 5k111z for something productive, rather than just being destructive! I remember when hacking was noble, when great ideas started in garages and basements and bedrooms. Our entire modern world is built on the shoulders of great hackers and tinkerers.

Now the public face of hackers are the little vandals and punks that just cause trouble online. I hang my head in sorrow that the good name of hacking is but a slandered shell of it's former self. I guess the old term for a malicious hacker, a cracker, was already in use, and never caught on! XD

Well, we call ourselves "makers" these days anyway… Just to separate ourselves from these criminal LOSERS!