April 25, 2018 / 4:39 PM / 10 months ago

Croatian police arrest suspect behind global cyber attack platform

ZAGREB, April 25 (Reuters) - Croatian police said on Wednesday they had arrested a 19-year old man they suspect of being behind an illegal internet service for cyber attacks called Webstresser.org.

“Webstresser.org, which was managed by a 19-old Croatian citizen, is a global internet service where users could hire a so-called DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) possibility to attack owners of web sites globally,” a police statement said.

It added that Webstresser.org had 136,000 registered users and recorded four million cyber attacks by April this year. The targets were the online services of banks, business sector and public institutions across the globe.

The cyber attacks were aimed at slowing down or blocking online services by directing a huge amount of data traffic towards a particular website.

Every user of Webstresser.org could buy access to online DDoS infrastructure for attacking web sites for a price starting at 15 euros, police said.

The arrested Croat will be charged for criminal acts against computer systems. If found guilty, he could be jailed for up to eight years.

The Croatian police said they had cooperated with forces from The Netherlands, Great Britain, Canada, Spain, Italy, Serbia and Hong Kong in an international action where many helpers and users of the DDoS service were also arrested.

Andrei Barysevich, a researcher and dark web expert at security firm Recorded Future, said so-called “stressors’ often portray themselves as legitimate services to assist security engineers to test the resilience of corporate networks against extreme traffic loads while explicitly barring any illegal use.

“In reality, such policies are just a facade, designed to create the appearance of legitimacy,” Barysevich said.

Alongside other similar services, Webstresser has been openly operating in the darknet since 2015 and was a commonly recommended solution for turn-key DDoS attacks.

Barysevich cautioned that since there are more than 50 underground DDoS vendors offering such services: “I am afraid the problem is not likely to be solved any time soon.” (Reporting by Igor Ilic in Zagreb; additional reporting by Eric Auchard in London Editing by Alexander Smith)

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