A number of suspected cyber criminals have been arrested in the UK, as part of a co-ordinated “strike week.”
The National Crime Agency has arrested 56 hackers following 25 separate operations across England, Scotland and Wales.
According to the BBC, the suspects are accused of committing a wide variety of cybercrimes, including data theft and fraud, with victims ranging from members of the public to multi-national companies such as Yahoo.
The largest single operation saw 25 people arrested in London and Essex, but arrests have also targeted individuals believed to be connected to high-profile hacking collectives. A man from Leeds was arrested as a suspected member of the Lizard Squad, while a London-based male is believed to be part of the D33Ds Company hacking group.
Lizard Squad have previously claimed to be behind hacks and DDoS attacks on the likes of Instagram and Tinder, as well as Microsoft and Sony’s online video game services.
Andy Archibald, deputy director of the NCA’s National Cyber Crime Unit, believes that the arrests send out a clear message to online criminals.
“Criminals need to realise that committing crime online will not render them anonymous to law enforcement,” he said. “It’s imperative that we continue to work with partners to pursue and disrupt the major crime groups targeting the UK.”
Some of the investigations, including those carried out in Sutton Coldfield, Willesden and Leeds, were assisted by the FBI, which provided forensic information.
As part of the NCA’s “strike week,” the UK organisation visited 70 businesses to educate them on the risks of cybercrime and how thieves may target them with phishing techniques and malware.
Four regional police units also set-up pop-up shops offering advice to the public about how to prevent online crime and keep their personal data safe.