A British man has been arrested on suspicion of hacking into the United States Department of Defense (DoD) computer system.
The 23-year-old from Sutton Coldfield was detained on Wednesday after the National Crime Agency (NCA), liaising with America’s FBI, launched a major nationwide crackdown on cybercrime.
The alleged hacker was held on suspicion of stealing data from a messaging service used by US defence employees around the world.
Contact information for around 800 people including names, titles, e-mail addresses and phone numbers, were stolen in the attack last June.
After managing to breach the system, the alleged hacker then posted a cryptic but threatening message, which read: “We smite the Lizards, LizardSquad your time is near. We’re in your bases, we control your satellites.
“The missiles shall rein upon thy who claim alliance, watch your heads, ** T-47:59:59 until lift off. We’re one, we’re many, we lurk in the dark, we’re everywhere and anywhere.
“Live Free Die Hard! DoD, DISA EMSS : Enhanced Mobile Satellite Services is not all, Department of Defense has no Defenses.”
The NCA claimed the data stolen was not sensitive and could not have been used to threaten US national security.
While the US authorities take cyber-attacks extremely seriously, it is understood the investigation and any potential prosecution will take place in the UK rather than in America.
Jeffrey Thorpe, special agent in charge, at the US Department of Defense criminal investigative service (DCIS), said: “DCIS special agents will use every tool at their disposal to pursue and bring to justice those that attack the Department of Defence.”
The arrest is one of almost 60 that have taken place in a week long coordinated operation to tackle the growing threat of online crime.
A 21-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of being part of a group that stole 400,000 email addresses and passwords from Yahoo! and published them online in 2012.
The youngest of those arrested in the raids was a 16-year-old who was arrested in Leeds on suspicion of using malicious software to target more than 350 websites.
Andy Archibald, deputy director of the NCA’s National Cyber Crime Unit, said: “Behind this week’s activity is the message that all of us, as individuals, businesses or law enforcement agencies, have a role to play in making the UK a safe place to enjoy the huge opportunities provided by the internet.
“Awareness of the type of cyber-crime dangers which are out there is vital, whoever you are, as is collaboration between organisations across different sectors, regions and countries to develop the most effective ways of combating those threats.
“We will continue to work with partners to pursue and disrupt the major crime groups targeting the UK, but also, crucially, to make the UK as difficult as possible a target for cyber criminals in the first place.”